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Zoltán Kodály:
About Zoltán Kodály

Zoltán Kodály was born in a small town in Hungary. His father worked for the Hungarian railroad, so the family moved around a lot. This meant that as a kid, Zoltán heard folk music from many different parts of the country. When he grew up, Hungarian folk music became his passion. Kodály spent a large part of his life collecting his native music, and teaching his countrymen about it.

Music heard in this episode:
Kodály: Cello Sonata
Kodály: Dances of Marosszek
Kodály: Dances of Galanta
Kodály: The Spinning Room: Jok a Leanyok
Kodály: Summer Evening
Kodály: The Peacock
Kodály: Hungarian Rondo
Kodály: See the Gypsy Eats a Cheese
Kodály: Háry János: Musical Clock

Other shows about Zoltán Kodály:
The Story of Hary Janos
Classical Composers who Used Folk Music
The Kodaly Method

Download this month's activity sheet

About Zoltán Kodály
12/16/1882 - 3/6/1967
Born in Hungary

Zoltán Kodály was born in Kecskemét, Hungary. Because his father worked with the Hungarian Railway System, the family was transferred a lot. As a result, Zoltán learned about music from all different parts of his country as he moved around. That was the beginning of his life-long interest in folk music.

Both of Zoltán's parents were amateur musicians, so there was also music in the house. As a boy, Zoltán learned to play the violin, piano, viola and cello. He performed in his school orchestra and at home with his parents.

As an adult, Kodály continued traveling around Hungary, collecting and studying Hungarian folk music. Much of the music he composed was based on folk songs he collected on his travels. And he also for created a new way to teach music to kids. His system became known as Kodály Method, and it's still used today by teachers around the world.

Kodály's most popular work is the suite from his opera Háry János. Háry János was a real man who liked to sit around at the village inn telling tall tales about his youth. One of those tales had him defeating Napoleon's army all by himself. The "Viennese Musical Clock" describes the mechanical clock Háry János claimed to have heard at the Austrian emperor's palace.

See other composers born in Hungary


This Week's Quiz:

1. What instrument did Kodaly teach himself to play?





2.Who was the composer with whom Kodaly shared a passion for Hungarian folk music?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Johann Sebastian Bach

Bela Bartok

Franz Liszt

3. Kodaly’s system of teaching is based in

playing an instrument




Zoltán Kodály
“Viennese Musical Clock” from Hary Janos

Composed in 1926
Performed by Hungarian State Orchestra
Mátyás Antal, conductor

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