Márta Virágvölgyi: Young Men's Dances from Kalotaszeg
Essays on Folk Music. Instrumental Folk Music Sample Collection
Published by the Hungarian Institute for Culture
Budapest, 1993. pp. 116, 37 music pieces, 9 photographs, 1 map
Acta Ethnographica, Volume 39. p. 231.
Márta Virágvölgyi's recent work is an integral part of series of books by Folk Dancers' Professional House, declared aim of which is to foster conscious learning of folk music for stage and dance house ensembles. Besides this, the broshure together with the earlier published ones (Folk Music of Gyimes, 1989; Folk Music of Bonchida, 1991; Folk Music of Szatmár, 1992; the latest together with András Vavrinecz) are worth attention in the aspect of scientific research as well.
In the preface to the first publication of Hungarian Folk Music Zoltán Kodály drew attention to the backlog in the field of instrumental folk music research. However, since that time good results have been achieved in this field, instrumental music is still handled as a stepchild topic by official researchers. The unaccomplishment of the question arises not from the attitude of research leaders, but from the nature of instrumental music itself. Studying instrumental music as a matter of course requires more complex approach. The instruments themselves (the best results were achieved in this field, first of all through Bálint Sárosi's activity), the repertoire played on them, its genre, the typology of tunes, the structure of motives, the rhythm and its relation to the dance, music playing occassions, the text-tune problems, musician-dancer relationship can all serve as objects of research. A certain field of research is focused on the instrumental technique, which can only be studied either on the spot, or with the help of a sound film recording. The complexity of the question is enlarged by the interethnic serving activity of village folk musicians, which together with the international features of dance, results the quicker spreading of dance tunes. In this case being familiar with interethnic processes is essentially important. An overall clearing up of this question can only be started, when a great deal of notes on instrumental folk music are available for researchers. But there are only a few results achieved in this field. László Lajtha devoted a volume to publish collections in Szék and Kôrispatak each, but the later (unpublished) collections proved, that the tune material of both villages is much reacher. A research-type publishing of Hungarian instrumental music has been paused since Lajtha's activity, that is why Márta Virágvölgyi's brochure fulfill such an important, long-needed role.
Its importance is not only in the aspects of publishing the tunes. The technical bars of phonograph collections at the beginning of our century did not allowed to record tune variations in longer dance processes, to note various dance music traditionally belonging to each other, the record of ensemble sounding, to study the questions of folk instrumental techniques. The same is valid for writing notes on the spot at the same time. Exploiting the technical opportunities of our age, Márta Virágvölgyi, studying video recordings of musicians playing, described precisely not only the pecularities of the musicians' right- and left-hand techniques, but also implies fingering, bowing and shiftings in the music notes as well. Examining the latest video recordings she can also predict the playing style of earlier performers not having been video recorded then.
The brochure, introducing Simon Kovács's "buráló" playing style from Magyarlónya and tunes accompanying men's dances in Kalotaszeg, has a short introductory essay in it like the others published earlier, and the co-author of which is András Vavrinecz. Important data can be found in them about the performers, the members of their bands, and harmonising used. It is unfortunate that this chapter does not have bibliographical references, although the author of the one-and-a-half page summary at the end of the brochure, Zoltán Karácsony, refers to special literature 30 times in its essay.