Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/624

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��Peculiarities both melodic and rhythmic give it the charm of distinctive originality. And its abrupt transitions from deep melancholy to wild merriment, with the unexpected modula- tions which accompany them, never fail to pro- duce an exquisite effect.

Hungarian songs are commonly sung in unison, and a semblance of harmony is imparted to them by the lavish embellishments of the accompany- ing instruments [see vol. ii. p. 198]. These embellishments are pure improvisations, played with extreme rapidity .and freedom, and the greatest precision. The intervals are said to be , or even \ tones. The scale

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��with the augmented intervals, offers no difficulties to instrumental music ; but is much less favour- able to vocal harmony. The Hungarian method of harmonising is, indeed, always peculiar. Thus, where the Germans employ ' contrary motion ' they prefer 'direct' and with very good results. But the most remarkable feature both of the poetry and the music of the Hungarians is its rhythm. At an early date their lyric poetry shaped itself into sharp and bold strophical sections, and their melodies underwent a cor- responding division into distinct phrases and periods. But within these limits there is ample freedom. Great diversity of accents, and the unequal lengths of the lines, give richness and variety to the musical rhythm. Syncopation, and the shortening of the first note of the bar (like the Scotch snap), are common

��and the periods consist of three and four bars generally of three, as in ' Golden is my steed,' The bold Hussar,' or The Fisherman ' (all well- known national airs). Occasionally the periods run in five-bar phrases, as in a very beautiful popular song called 'Autumn.' And as this song further illustrates the sudden changes and the harmonic and rhythmic peculiarities already referred to, it will be convenient to insert it at length : *

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�l Arranged by Dr. Pressel, whose account of Hungarian Music, In the Neue Zeitschrift far Musik, vol. xxxvl. Is both accurate and Interesting. It is included In Boosey's Boyal Bong Books. (See p. 80 cf Bongs of Eastern Europe.)

��The time of Hungarian national airs is mostly 2-4. Compound time is rare, excepting 5-4 or 5-8, which is more common than in many other countries. In any collection of Hungarian songs numerous examples may be found. Instances of 7-8 time are also not unknown, but where these eccentricities occur, they are probably due to the great freedom of the poetic metre.

Many collections of the national songs of Hungary have been published at Pesth and Vienna. The best are those edited by Gabriel MAtray, by VagvSlgyi, and a smaller collection published by Pressel at Stuttgart, also by Boosey, London; edited by J. A. Kappey.

For further information see

'Ungarische Volkslieder ' ; ubersetzt und eingeleitet von M. A. Greguss.

National Songs of the Slovaks in Hungary,' by Kollar. Die Zigeuner und ihre Musik in Ungarn,' by Franz Liszt.

Notices in the ' Neue Zeitschrift fUr Musik ' vol. xxxvi ; in the Csecilia, vol. v, and in the article on MAGYAR MUSIC in this Dictionary.

KUSSIA AND THE SLAVONIC NATIONS.

Russia. From the cradle to the grave Song is the constant companion of the Russian's life. It is the delight of both sexes and of every age. The sports of childhood, the pleasures of youth, and all the varied occupations of mature years, have each their own appropriate accompaniment of song. The Khorovorf, for instance, is a choral dance with which the boys and girls of the Russian villages greet the approach of spring. The Kolyadki, or Christmas songs, belong to a large group of ritual and mythic songs which mark successive stages of the year, and are sung respectively, at seed-time and harvest, mid- summer and midwinter, the New Year and Whitsuntide. Another group of ceremonial songs belongs to betrothals and marriages, christenings and funerals, and embodies the feel- ings awakened by the principal incidents of life. And to sorrow, whatever its source, the Zap- lachlci, or wailing songs, bring relief. An epic element is supplied by songs which record his- toric events, or celebrate the exploits of soldiers, Cossack heroes, or noted robbers. Such are the long metrical romances, called Bylinas, sung or recited by village minstrels. And the love of the Russian peasant for his national airs is fully shared by his more educated countrymen, among whom the national operas of Verstovsky, Glinka, and other composers have a wide and lasting popularity.

Russian songs have, as a rule, a distinctively local character. In Great Russia, for example, their dominant qualities are gaiety and bright- ness ; while the superior charm of the songs of Little Russia is due, for the most part, to a prevailing cast of melancholy. Inhabited by a people who vie with the Poles in susceptibility to poetic sentiment, Little Russia is naturally rich in songs. And we may note as peculiarities of these pieces, which have often a touching beauty, the presence of certain discords in their ' harmony, and a halt or drag in the rhythm,

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