Hungarian Peasant and Folk Music
I. General confusion about Hungarian folk music.
Gypsy music Peasant music - the real Hungarian folk music - is not Gypsy music. Peasant music certainly had influence on the songs and playing of gypsies who lived in Hungary and performed in ensembles, though. Gypsy music used to be the basis of all generalizations about Hungarian music. It was Ferenc Liszt's monumental error to state that Gypsy music is the creation of gypsies. The so called 'gypsy scale' points to a southern oriental (Arabic) origin and may possibly have reached Hungary through the gypsies. This music falsifies Hungarian folk songs by introducing augmented intervals of the Gypsy scales, which scales were never used by peasants.
Some of the gypsy composers e.g. Pista Danko wrote and performed songs on more than 400 contemporary Hungarian texts. Whereas others specialized playing the instrumental csárdás. Gypsy music was influenced by West European melodies and they second-rate imitated Hungarian style. Gypsy music therefore is not even Gypsy music. It is true, however, that real Gypsy music existed but they were mainly sung by nomadic tent colonies and to a lesser extent by settled village gypsies. The civilized town gypsies and hence the musicians did not know them at all.
Popular art music
Peasant music must neither be confused with popular art music, which is the music of town (also could be named as flourishing popular town art music or light popular style). Popular art music is the wide category for all the artistic product of the current generations of industrialized culture following the fashion of the day with the tremendous influences of Western European music and any surrounding styles. Obviously, Gypsy music belongs to this category as well. Popular art music tends to involve extremely popular songs, which songs are most popularly broadcasted and played through the media and identified as Hungarian folk music. The first widely-known Hungarian dances are composed by known composers and harmonized after the Viennese style. It is a mystery why they were labeled as Hungarian folk melodies. Popular art music is set on texts or poems, which is the commonplace language of the town reflecting the individual tastes and whims of their composers with a less beautiful and corrupt use of the language in comparison with the high, natural, illiterate musical and poetic artistry of peasant music having no individual authors or composers yet with a beautiful use of the language full with natural images and marvelous metaphors. Just an example: here is a quotation of one strophe from the old style of peasant music: "Sír elöttem az út, - Bánkódik az ösveny, - Még az is azt mondja: - Áldjon meg az östen" ("In front of me the trail is crying, - The path is lamenting, - Even it says: - God bless you") It does not work in English. The translation does not show the nicety of the language, its clear genuine sound, the sound of the words, which...