- Printed By – Egyetemi Nyomda
Total running time of side B: 23:29
Total running time of side C: 24:18
Total running time of side D: 23:14
Total running time of side E: 22:26
Total running time of side F: 23:54
(For more information about instruments, see below.)
Magyar Hangszeres Népzene
A Magyar Tudományos Akadémia anyagából szerkesztette: Sárosi Bálint
From the collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
With 26 pages booklet (english and hungarian) - musical examples, lyrics, photos, notes.
Népzenei Hangfelvételek a Zenetudományi Intézet birtokában. / Folk music records treasured in the Institute Of Musicology
A kísérőfüzeten: Klarinét- és Tekerőjátékos. Bács Kiskun megye
Album cover: Clarinet player and hurdy-gurdy player. Bács-Kiskun county
These three records represent the first attempt to give an outline of the instrumental tradition in Hungarian folk music by making use of documentary recordings. Therefore, our primary objective has been to collect ethnographically authentic and within its scope the possible most complete selection consequently:
a) only original recordings made directly at the source of living tradition are included, and
b) the selection represents all the important instrumental branches available in some recorded form in the whole territory over which Hungarian language is spoken that covers an area far beyond the present borders of Hungary.
The recordings included in the album have been made since the late 1950-ies under the most varied conditions and with the most different technical means, usually on the very spot. Therefore, we could not always stick to technical impeccability, but we have made sure to include only musically comprehensible material. A great many of the recordings would be irreproducible now, a fact only adding to their historical value. In one case, we use a recording from Patria, a series of Hungarian folk music albums released in the prewar years.
The order of editing roughly follows the stratification of the musical material. „Old” and „new” stylistic layers-each with further sublayers – can be distinguished in our instrumental music as well as in vocal music. These are not historical categories in the full sense of the word, although they have historical interpretations as well, especially since they have been preserved side by side in the living tradition until our century and partly up to these days. With a rough generalization and disregarding the various transitional and exceptional phenomena, the two major layers can be characterised as follows:
1. Old layer. The performers are not professional musicians, but members of the peasant community, agricultural labourer, shepherd, etc. using the musical instrument as a means of their profession (e.g. cowhorn) or as amateurs. If they play for money or any other form of payment, as in the past often bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy players often did, and more recently peasant brass and string bands have been doing, it has been regarded as a secondary activity. (Over the past decades, young amateurs in the villages have been increasingly preferring to establish an international style of dance music ensemble. Naturally, no such group plays in this album.)
Improvized musical instruments (chair, spoon), signal instruments (bell, cowhorn) old type and mostly home-made instruments (reed-pipe, flute, bagpipe, hurdy-gurdy, zither, etc.) are only used in this layer. If occasionally modern instruments are used the musicians are in most cases satisfied with the same musical accomplishment as upon playing on the earlier ones. (Cp. e.g. the melody played on shepherd flute and modern flute or the bourdon accompaniment of the zither and brass band.)
Disregarding now the signals having originally no musical function (cowhorn tunes), the repertory of an instrumental peasant musician is identical with the vocal repertory of those in his environment. Apart from some instrumental pieces of a recent date, only bagpipe songs and bagpipe interludes reveal the traces of real instrumental music. Virtuosity is not among the typical objectives. Classical (West-European) type of harmonisation is also infamiliar to this style. In dance music, the general requirement is rhythmic accompaniment of an undefined pitch or some form of bourdon accompaniment – this is at the same time the upper limit of polyphony.
2. New layer. The performers are mostly gypsy-musicians assimilated to their environment and following local traditions who regard playing music as their profession even if they cannot always live only by this job. In contrast with the peasant musicians, they are reluctant to play individually as the music they represent requires an ensemble.
A typical instrument here is the modern violin accompanied in most cases by further strings (viola, bass) often the cimbalom (a modern Hungarian dulcimer) and less frequently the clarinet. In some places, especially in Transylvania, the accordion has also found a first place, the cimbalom that does not transport easily) from there.
In the new layer, beyond the traditional vocal tunes of the area, real instrumental music is also characteristic, in proportions varying by regions. Virtuosity, including the use of impressive instrumental formulae, plays already an important role at relatively low levels of technical knowledge. In the accompaniment, there are (at least by intention) harmonic progressions consisting of triads and chords of four notes, connected modally or functionally.
In our albums upon passing from old to new layers, we proceed from the simple and more ancient music to the more complex and more modern pieces in such a way that we have attempted to group identical instruments, types of instrument and types of ensembles together; no further subgrouping seemed to be necessary this time. The borderline between old and new layer is the phase where the monotonous accompaniment („bagpipe accompaniment”) – bourdon accompaniment – ends and „harmonization”, that is, a polyphony of chord progressions starts. This is why e.g. the brass band and peasant string band precede then tambura, the „small cimbalom” and even the wooden cimbalom. Those in the first group mostly follow the bourdon tradition, while the latters are typically related to the harmonizing ensembles. The ensemble of violin and gardon represents a transitional phenomenon in which the accompaniment is an „old” one, while the formation of melodies is rather „new”.
Much of the old layer have survived the Second World-War only in a scattered and fragmentary way. We had to realize this when recording folk tunes on tape and to keep in mind that this selection should reflect the real proportions of tradition and not just the momentary situation of survival, or open a treasure-house of „fine” recordings. For instance, flute-players have been reduced in number, and most of them gave up playing ten-twenty years ago. Yet, some of them have been included in these records to feature along with some excellent instrumentalists, simply because they give an authentic interpretation of the dying out style of their region, even if their fingers are occasionally stumbling. The same applies to the bagpipe and the hurdy-gurdy. The single recording of a „small cimbalom” is again one that has been included not because it is such an extraordinary piece of folk „art”. The instrument is out of tune even by its own standards and the far from sober cimbalom player chants a composed song, yet, from a certain aspect, it provides an authentic picture of traditional peasant life. One may quote the „village inn” of the well known Petőfi poem where, also by the sounds of a („small”) cimbalom, village lads were carousing not only with authorized folk songs and artistic purposes that were far from being.
The short descriptions of the various instruments, photographic illustrations and draft scores in this booklet have been designed to help the listener understand the material in sound. The draft scores as well as the vocal varianst appearing occasionally beside the instrumental ones inform the listener about the genetic background of the instrumental piece. They are not real transcriptions but simple drafts aiming to afford a survay mainly for those who intend to get familiar with this relatively less-known area of our folk music at a comparatively higher level.
The transcriptions of the vocal tunes have been transposed to g’ as a final tone, those of the instrumental performances were written in the corresponding original or transposed pitch level (e.g. the fundamental tone of the flute is a written c’, that of the zither is a g, that of the bagpipe is a g’). At the end of the instrumental transcriptions, we have also indicated the original pitch of the initial note.
Detailed data concerning the source and whereabouts of the various pieces will be found in the small-type notes in the final section of this booklet. It also contains the name of the collector wherever not identical with this author.
And now a short summary of the instruments featuring in the albums (more or less in the order they are heard):
Bells. Well-known ordinary metal objects tied on the necks of animals with straps or thin chains.
Whip. Shepherding and signalling instrument used by shepherds. It is twisted and plaited from narrow leather stripes and fixed on a short wooden handle.
Cowhorn, horn. A natural horn without fingerholes made of a cow’s horn. The horn of tin is somewhat longer and is straight in shape.
Trumpet. Factory-manufactured, ordinary natural trumpet made of copper.
Kazoo. A membranophonic instrument. A thin film is streched on the open side or end of a tube which vibrates together with sound hummedon is, resulting in a nazal tone colour. (The comb with a cigarette paper belongs also to this type of instrument.
Jew’s Harp. Longish steel tongue welded by one end to a metal frame. The player plucks it in front of his mouth, while forming the melody by changing the shape and volume of his mouth cavity.
Friction Drum. A variant of the drum, the performer produces the sound by rubbing. Vertically, a reed is fastened to the middle of a membrane covering the opening of a pot. It is played by rubbing the reed with wet fingers.
Leaf. Sometimes ordinary leaf. More often, thin, flexible little sheet made of the bark of cherry, sour cherry, birch tree or photo film. The player passes it with his fingers to his lips from the outside or places its smaller version between his lower lip and lower set of teeth, pressing its upper edge to his upper lip.
Flute. It is a duct flute blown at the end usually made of elder or maple tree. It has six fingerholes, this producing a diatonic scale of major character.
Long Flute. 90 centimetre long duct flute blown at the end, with five fingerholes.
Ocarina. The internationally known clay flute of the shape of a bird’s body belonging to the family of globular flutes.
Edgeflute. 26 centimetre long tube with an internal diameter of 1 centimetre, with six fingerholes, blown from the edge (has no mouthpiece).
Side-Blown Flute. Ordinary six-hole flute blown through an opening on its side (a variant of the modern flute without stops).
Modern Flute. The ordinary modern side-blown instrument used throughout the world.
Double Flute. Two parallel flutes of the same size built together, made of the same piece of wood: one has six fongerholes, the other has none. The latter produces only the natural partial tones: basis, octave, fifth.
Clarinet. The ordinary modern instrument used throughout the world.
Tárogató (Hungarian Clarinette). A modern Hungarian clarinette-like instrument with the mouthpiece of a clarinet, but with conical boring. Its tuning is B flat. In its structure and tone it resembles to the saxophon.
Zither. A plucked instrument with a flat sound-boksz without a neck. The melody strings of the simpler version are stretched over a diatonic range of frets. On most instruments, however, there is a second set of frets adding chromatic possibilities to the diatonic frets. The accompanying chords usually produce the keynote and fifth (lower fourth) of the scale.
Cane Pipe. A primitive clarinet made of a span long cane tube with its tongue cut in the wall of the tube. It has 6+1 fingerholes corresponding to a diatonic scale of an octave’s compass.
Bagpipe. The Hungarian bagpipe has 3 single reed pipes. Two of these are built together in a double chanter: 1. the melodic pipe producing an octave’s compass of the diatonic scale, 2. the kontra which can play the keynote of the melodic pipe and its lower fourth. The third pipe – the drone – sounds two octaves lower than the keynote of the melodic pipe.
Hurdy-Gurdy. The instrument has a double set of wooden keys (producing a chromatic scale) and three strings. If the melodic string is tuned in F sharp, then the so-called rattling string in b, and the bass in B. The characteristic rhythmic accompaniment is provided by the rattling string, as the hurdy-gurdy player turns the disk rubbing the chords at a non-constant rate, and the jolts of his wrist correspond to the required rhythm.
Gardon. Roughly, it has the shape and size of a violoncello. In simpler cases, its three or four strings are tuned in d (d D D D). The player beats the chords located in one plane with a wooden stick and combines his beat with a kind of plucking: he picks up the thinner side string and lets it strike back against the finger board.
Accordion. Ordinary keyed accordion used throughout the world.
Harp. A home-made instrument, roughly corresponding to the 18th century European harp.
Wooden Cimbalom. A home-made xylophone. Its rods are placed in the same order as the chords of the ordinary cimbalom. So the cimbalom player can play it without any difficulty.
Small Cimbalom. The smaller original version of the cimbalom (dulcimer) without damper.
Cimbalom. A version enlarged, improved and equipped with soft pedal in Hungary in the second half of the 19th century. This instrument is widely used by gypsy bands in Hungary today.
Tambura. A plucked string instrument with long neck and small sound box belonging to the lute family. Same as the tamburica of the South Slavs. In the tambura orchestra, this is the instrument of the leader.
The string instruments (with occasional differences of the actual pitch) are in general identical in forms and tuning with the internationally known types. The viola of the Transylvanian three member string ensemble forms an exception here as its three chords laying on a plane bridge and tuned to g d’ a are always capable of producing triads. The three chords on the violoncello-size bass of the group from Szék are double A, big D and G. When the recording was made, there were two chords, double G and big D on the regular size double bass of the musicians from Királyfalva.
It is with the deepest affection and gratitude that I think of all my informants and performers, deceased or alive. Over the past twenty-five years, they have helped me to save as well as to understand the pieces included here. Thanks are due to those colleagues, including, in the first place Zoltán Kallós, whose collections could turn the musical mosaics I have compiled into a more complete picture. My thanks are due to the Institute of Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences having afforded possibility for this work. Finally, I express my gratitude to my colleague, Mr. Pál Sztanó, in charge of the final technical editing of the complete material. His skill and knowledge in sound engineering and his conscientious work more than once saved pieces given up as lost because of various technical difficulties.