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Zoltán Kodály:
Classical Composers who Used Folk Music

Zoltán Kodály was not the only composer to use folk tunes in the music he wrote. Here are some others.

Music heard in this episode:
Mozart: Variations on Ah, Vous Dirai je Maman
Bartok: Roumanian Dances
Enesco: Roumanian Rhapsody #1
Canteloube: Songs of the Auvergne: Malurous Qu’o uno Fenno
Falla: Concerto for Harpsichord
Alfven: Swedish Rhapsody
Vaughan Williams: Sea Songs
Copland: Old American Songs: I Bought me a Cat
Still: Get on Board
Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel: Ein Mannlein Steht im Walde
Kodály: Háry János: Intermezzo

Other shows about Zoltán Kodály:
About Zoltán Kodály
The Story of Hary Janos
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. Who wrote a set of variations on the piece that we know as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?

Ludwig van Beethoven

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

George Frederick Handel

Richard Strauss

2.Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly collected folk music from which country?






3. Which opera includes several German folk songs?



Hansel and Gretel

William Tell


Zoltán Kodály
“Viennese Musical Clock” from Hary Janos

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

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