excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 300 (192 words)

excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 300 (192 words)

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Béla Bartók Letters

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I have been, as you know, working for a while on the Parry Yugoslav folk music collection. Besides transcribing a certain amount into musical notation, I have had an opportunity to familiarize myself with its contents. / This unique collection of over 2,600 phonograph records – to my knowledge the only collection of Yugoslav folk music on acoustical [sic] recordings – contains a very large mass of epic song accompanied by the gusle, a primitive one-string instrument. The style and musical treatment of these heroic songs is probably as close to that of the Homeric poems as any folk music style found today may be. While from the historical, literary, and musicological point of view the lyric songs or ‘women’s songs’ and the instrumental pieces in the collection are more rewarding. The epic songs are carried by a mode of chanting which, while on the whole simple, varies somewhat from region to region and singer to singer. The chant itself is undoubtedly part of old European folk heritage, but the gusle accompaniment occasionally shows parallels with Arabic melodic treatment – probably due to an influence during the long Turkish occupation.

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excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 300 (192 words)


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