Slovak Influences in 20th Century Music as Represented in Selected Works of Bartók, Janáček and Novák
Committee ChairCockrell, Thomas
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe goal of this document is to demonstrate how Slovak folk music inspired creation of some early 20th century chamber, orchestral, and vocal-instrumental compositions. In examples drawn from works of Vítězslav Novák, Leoš Janáček and Béla Bartók the author analyzes the different ways of translating folk music idioms into the compositional language of these composers. The first of the introductory chapters presents an outline of distinctive features of Slovak folk music. It talks about the role of folk song in the life of Slovaks and its connection to social events in the villages. It also analyzes the relationship between language and music. The coexistence of modal and tonal music is emphasized and songs are divided into historical periods. In the second part of the introduction an historic overview of the influence of Slovak folk music in classical music is given. The chapter covers the first known occurrences of this influence in the collections of songs and dances from the Baroque era and the occasional references in the Classical and Romantic music. The impulses behind the wave of interest in Slovak folk music in the 20th century are also examined. The first chapter documents the influence of Slovak folk music on Vítězslav Novák. It describes his early career and his first encounters with Slovakia. The central part of this chapter consists of analysis of the symphonic poem In the Tatras, a work inspired by Slovakia and containing Slovak music references. The second chapter of this document is devoted to Leoš Janáček. His multifaceted approach to folk music included an intimate knowledge of people’s lifestyle, traditions, local dialects and speech patterns. The fruit of his research is documented in the song collection 26 Folk Ballads. The majority of these arrangements for voice and piano are of Slovak origin. The final chapter examines the personal and artistic ties of Béla Bartók to Slovakia. Bartók employed folk music elements in his compositions with a genius which made him a master of such compositional approach. The variety of ways by which Bartók used Slovak folk music is scrutinized in the analysis of Three Village Scenes.