Kodály's system of musical education has had a profound
effect on the entire world. His own music is imbued with the spirit
and musical idiom of Hungary and is in general less astringent than
the music of Béla Bartók.
Zoltán Kodály was born in Hungary in 1882. He was the son of a stationmaster. At an early age he taught himself to play the violin, viola, piano, and cello. He attended Budapest University and the Academy of Music. Here he was introduced to the music of Claude Debussy, which intrigued him.
He grew to be friends with his contemporary, Bartók, and they critiqued each other's pieces. They both shared an interest in folk music. After his graduation, over the next decade he composed several chamber and vocal pieces. With the opera, Hary Janos, he arrived to the international stage. With this piece and a few other dances, he composed a lengthy body of folk songs which gained him respect in Hungary.
Kodály believed that singing rather than instrument playing was the key to musical literacy. He wished for all of Hungary to gain this type of literacy so he composed several vocal pieces. However he still composed orchestral pieces during this time.
Kodály lived to see his wish come true. Two years before
his death there was a publication of a scholarly edition of
Hungarian folk music. Also he brought about the introduction on
music education in elementary school, which were also taught by his
principles. He died in 1967, a happy and revered man.
His Famous Compositions
His notable pieces include Hary Janos, Peacock Variations,
Dances from Galanta, and Psalmus Hungaricus. He also wrote some
very famous chamber pieces such as his First String Quartet, Sonata for
Cello and Piano, Duo for Violin and Cello, Sonata for Cello, and
his Second String
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