Piano Music - Béla Bartók

Béla Bartók


1881 - 1945
Béla Bartók was a Hungarian composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist.



📖 "I cannot conceive of music that expresses absolutely nothing."


📖 "In art there are only fast or slow developments. Essentially it is a matter of evolution, not revolution."


📖 "Our peasant music, naturally, is invariably tonal, if not always in the sense that the inflexible major and minor system is tonal. (An "atonal" folk-music, in my opinion, is unthinkable.) Since we depend upon a tonal basis of this kind in our creative work, it is quite self-evident that our works are quite pronouncedly tonal in type. I must admit, however, that there was a time when I thought I was approaching a species of twelve-tone music. Yet even in works of that period the absolute tonal foundation is unmistakable."


📖 "With maturity comes the wish to economize - to be more simple. Maturity is the period when one finds the just measure."


📖 "His pagan barbarity, his explosive and angrily defiant melancholy, his demoniacal instinct . . . these are all echoes . . . of the thousand-year-old Hungarian psyche."


📖 "Folk melodies are the embodiment of an artistic perfection of the highest order; in fact, they are models of the way in which a musical idea can be expressed with utmost perfection in terms of brevity of form and simplicity of means."


📖 "It may well be that some composers do not believe in God. All of them, however, believe in Bach."


📖 "Competitions are for horses, not artists."


📖 "For my own part, all my life, in every sphere, always and in every way, I shall have one objective: the good of Hungary and the Hungarian nation."
In letter to his family (1903)


📖 "The extremes of variation, which is so characteristic of our folk music, is at the same time the expression of my own nature."
In Ujfalussy, Béla Bartók (1971)


📖 "[On birdsong:] How well I understand that those people whose lives are lived in close proximity with nature, and far away from so-called civilisation, from the questionable blessing of doctors and hospitals, are still entrusting their fate to those rituals of healing song."
In Fassett, The Naked Face of Genius (1958)


📖 "every art has the right to strike its root in the art of the previous age; it not only has the right to but it must stem from it."
In Essays (1976)

Quotes by Béla Bartók



Piano music and free scores by Béla Bartók on IMSLP













Explore Recordings of Bartok's Piano Music


Béla Bartók plays Bartók "For Children" (recorded in 1945)
Vol. 1: No. 3. Quasi adagio
No. 4. Pillow Dance
No. 6. Study for the Left Hand
No. 10. Children’s Dance
No. 12. Allegro
No. 13. Ballade
No. 15. Allegro moderato
No. 18. Soldier’s Song
No. 19. Allegretto
No. 21. Allegro robusto
Vol. 2: No. 26. Moderato
No. 34. Allegretto
No. 35. Con moto
No. 31. Andante tranquillo
No. 30. Jeering Song



Bartók plays Bartók Suite Op. 14 (recorded in 1929)



Bartók Plays Bartók (recorded in 1940)
Mikrokosmos Book VI (excerpts, 140-144)
140. Free Variations
141. Subject and Reflection
142. From the Diary of a Fly
143. Divided Arpeggios
144. Minor Seconds, Major Sevenths




Piano Music by Béla Bartók


Op. 1/1-31 Walczer, DD1, 1890
Változó darab [Changeable Piece], DD2, 1890
Mazurka, DD3, 1890
A budapesti tornaverseny [Gymnastic Contest in Budapest], DD4, 1890
Sonatina no.1, DD5, 1890
Oláh darab [Wallachian Piece], DD6, 1890
Gyorspolka [Fast Polka], DD7, 1891
‘Béla’ polka, DD8, 1891
‘Katinka’ polka, DD9, 1891
Tavaszi hangok [Sounds of Spring], DD10, 1891
‘Jolán’ polka, DD11, 1891
‘Gabi’ polka, DD12, 1891
Nefelejts [Forget-me-not], DD13, 1891
Ländler no.1, DD14, 1891
‘Irma’ polka, DD15, 1891
Radegundi visszhang [Echo of Radegund], DD16, 1891
Induló [March], DD17, 1891
Ländler no.2, DD18, 1891
Cirkusz polka, DD19, 1891
A Duna folyása [The Course of the Danube], DD20a, 1890–94
‘Ilona’ mazurka, DD26, 1893
‘Loli’ mazurka, DD27, 1893
‘Lajos’ valczer, DD28, 1893
‘Elza’ polka, DD29, 1894
Andante con variazioni, DD30, 1894

Op. 8 Drei Klavierstücke, b, C, a, DD45, 1897

Op. 11 Scherzo (Fantasie), B, DD50, 1897 (Z 1965)

Op. 14 Drei Klavierstücke, c, g, E, DD53

Op. 19/3 Six Dances, DD60a, c1900, facs. of no.1 pubd as Danse orientale

Op. 22 Változatok [Twelve Variations]

Op. 27 Four Pieces, DD71, 1903 (Study for the Left Hand; Fantasy I; Fantasy II; Scherzo)

Op. 31 Marche funèbre, DD75b, 1903

Op. 36a Rhapsody, op.1, 1904

Op. 38 Petits morceaux, 1905

Op. 45b Három Csík megyei népdal [Three Hungarian Folksongs from Csík], 1907 (Rubato, L’istesso tempo, Poco vivo)

Op. 49 Két elégia [Two Elegies], op.8b, 1908–9 (R 1910): Grave, Molto adagio sempre rubato (quasi improvisando)

Op. 50 Fourteen Bagatelles, op.6, 1908 (R 1909): 1 Molto sostenuto; 2 Allegro giocoso; 3 Andante; 4 Grave [arr. of folksong Mikor gulyásbojtár voltam]; 5 Vivo [arr. of folksong Ej! po pred naš, po pred naš]; 6 Lento; 7 Allegretto molto capriccioso; 8 Andante sostenuto; 9 Allegretto grazioso; 10 Allegro; 11 Allegretto molto rubato; 12 Rubato; 13 Elle est morte (Lento funèbre); 14 Valse: ma mie qui danse (Presto)

Op. 51 Tíz könnyű zongoradarab [Ten Easy Pieces], 1908 (R 1908), with Ajánlás [Dedication]: 1 Paraszti nóta [Peasant Song]; 2 Lassú vergődés [Frustration]; 3 Tót legények tánca [Slovak Boys’ Dance]; 4 Sostenuto; 5 Este a székelyeknél [Evening in Transylvania (Evening with the Széklers)]; 6 Gödöllei piactéren leesett a hó [Hungarian Folksong]; 7 Hajnal [Dawn]; 8 Azt mondják, nem adnak [Slovakian Folksong]; 9 Ujjgyakorlat [Five-Finger Exercise]; 10 Medvetánc [Bear Dance]

Op. 53 Gyermekeknek/Pro dêti [For Children], 85 pieces, i–iv, 1908–10

Op. 54 Vázlatok [Seven Sketches], op.9b, 1908–10 (R 1911): 1 Leányi arckép [Portrait of a Girl]; 2 Hinta palinta [See-Saw, Dickory-Daw]; 3 Lento; 4 Non troppo lento; 5 Román népdal [Romanian Folksong]; 6 Oláhos [In Wallachian Style]; 7 Poco lento

Op. 55 Három burleszk [Three Burlesques], op.8c, 1908–11 (Rv 1912): Perpatvar [Quarrel], Kicsit ázottan [A Bit Drunk], Molto vivo capriccioso

Op. 56 Ket román tánc [Two Romanian Dances], op.8a, 1909–10 (Rv 1910; with rev. no.2, Do 1981): Allegro vivace, Poco allegro

Op. 58 Négy siratóének [Four Dirges], op.9a, 1909–10 (Rv 1912): Adagio; Andante; Poco lento; Assai andante

Op. 63 Allegro barbaro, 1911

Op. 66 Kezdők zongoramuzsikája [First Term at the Piano], 18 pieces, 1913 (Rv 1929

Op. 67 Román kolinda-dallamok [Romanian Christmas Songs], 20 pieces in 2 series, 1915

Op. 68 Román népi táncok [Romanian Folk Dances], 1915 (U 1918, rev. edn U 1993): 1 Joc cu bâtă [Stick Dance]; 2 Brâul; 3 Pe loc [In One Spot]; 4 Buciumeana [Dance of Buchum]; 5 Poargă românească [Romanian Polka]; 6 Mărunţel [Fast Dance]

Op. 69 Sonatina, 1915 (Rv 1919), rev. after 1930 (B 1950)

Op. 70 Suite, op.14, 1916

Op. 79 Tizenöt magyar parasztdal [Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs], 1914, 1918 (U 1920): 1–4 Négy régi keserves ének [Four Old Tunes]; 5 Scherzo; 6 Ballade (Tema con variazioni); 7–15 Régi táncdalok [Old Dance Tunes]

Op. 80b Three Hungarian Folk Tunes, 1914, 1918 (no.1 in early version, BB80a, in Periszkóp (1925), June–July; complete B 1942): Leszállott a páva [The Peacock]; Jánoshidi vásártéren [At the Jánoshida Fairground]; Fehér liliomszál [White Lily]

Op. 81 Etűdök [(Three) Studies], op.18, 1918

Op. 83 Improvizációk magyar parasztdalokra [(Eight) Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs], op.20, 1920

Op. 86b Táncszvit [Dance Suite], 1925

Op. 88 Sonata, 1926

Op. 89 Szabadban [Out of Doors], i–ii, 1926 (U 1927 rev. edns U 1990, 1996): i/1 Síppal, dobbal [With Drums and Pipes]; i/2 Barcarolla; i/3 Musettes; ii/4 Az éjszaka zenéje [The Night’s Music]; ii/5 Hajsza [The Chase]

Op. 90 Kilenc kis zongoradarab [Nine Little Piano Pieces], i–iii, 1926 (U 1927, rev. edn U 1995): i/1–4 Négy párbeszéd [Four Dialogues]; ii/5 Menuetto; ii/6 Dal [Air]; ii/7 Marcia delle bestie; ii/8 Csörgő-tánc [Tambourine]; iii/9 Preludio – All’ungherese

Op. 92 Három rondó népi dallamokkal [Three Rondos on (Slovak) Folktunes]: no.1 1916, nos.2–3 1927

Op. 105 Mikrokosmos, i–vi, 1926, 1932–9 (B 1940, rev. edn B 1987) vol.i: 1–6 Six Unison Melodies; 7 Dotted Notes; 8 Repetition I; 9 Syncopation I; 10 With Alternate Hands; 11 Parallel Motion; 12 Reflection; 13 Change of Position; 14 Question and Answer; 15 Village Song; 16 Parallel Motion and Change of Position; 17 Contrary Motion I; 18–21 Four Unison Melodies; 22 Imitation and Counterpoint; 23 Imitation and Inversion I; 24 Pastorale; 25 Imitation and Inversion II; 26 Repetition II; 27 Syncopation II; 28 Canon at the Octave; 29 Imitation Reflected; 30 Canon at the Lower Fifth; 31 Dance in Canon Form; 32 In Dorian Mode; 33 Slow Dance; 34 In Phrygian Mode; 35 Chorale; 36 Free Canon; Appendix: Exercises 1–4 vol.ii: 37 In Lydian Mode; 38 Staccato and Legato I; 39 Staccato and Legato (Canon); 40 In Yugoslav Style; 41 Melody with Accompaniment; 42 Accompaniment in Broken Triads; 43 In Hungarian Style, 2 pf; 44 Contrary Motion II, 2 pf; 45 Méditation; 46 Increasing–Diminishing; 47 Country Fair; 48 In Mixolydian Mode; 49 Crescendo–Diminuendo; 50 Minuetto; 51 Waves; 52 Unison Divided; 53 In Transylvanian Style; 54 Chromatics; 55 Triplets in Lydian Mode, 2 pf; 56 Melody in Tenths; 57 Accents; 58 In Oriental Style; 59 Major and Minor; 60 Canon with Sustained Notes; 61 Pentatonic Melody; 62 Minor Sixths in Parallel Motion; 63 Buzzing; 64 Line against Point; 65 Dialogue, 1v, pf; 66 Melody Divided; Appendix: Exercises 5–18 vol.iii: 67 Thirds against a Single Voice; 68 Hungarian Dance, 2 pf; 69 Study in Chords; 70 Melody against Double Notes; 71 Thirds; 72 Dragons’ Dance; 73 Sixths and Triads; 74 Hungarian Matchmaking Song, also version for 1v, pf; 75 Triplets; 76 In Three Parts; 77 Little Study; 78 Five-Tone Scale; 79 Hommage à J.S.B.; 80 Hommage à R. Sch.; 81 Wandering; 82 Scherzo; 83 Melody with Interruptions; 84 Merriment; 85 Broken Chords; 86 Two Major Pentachords; 87 Variations; 88 Duet for Pipes; 89 In Four Parts I; 90 In Russian Style; 91 Chromatic Invention I; 92 Chromatic Invention II; 93 In Four Parts II; 94 Once Upon a Time …; 95 Fox Song, also version for 1v, pf; 96 Jolts; Appendix: Exercises 19–30 vol.iv: 97 Notturno; 98 Thumbs Under; 99 Hands Crossing; 100 In Folksong Style; 101 Diminished Fifth; 102 Harmonics; 103 Minor and Major; 104 Wandering Through the Keys; 105 Game; 106 Children’s Song; 107 Melody in the Mist; 108 Wrestling; 109 From the Island of Bali; 110 And the Sounds Clash and Clang …; 111 Intermezzo; 112 Variations on a Folktune; 113 Bulgarian Rhythm I; 114 Theme and Inversion; 115 Bulgarian Rhythm II; 116 Song; 117 Bourrée; 118 Triplets in 9/8 Time; 119 Dance in 3/4 Time; 120 Triads; 121 Two-part Study; Appendix: Exercises 31–3 vol.v: 122 Chords Together and in Opposition; 123 Staccato and Legato II; 124 Staccato; 125 Boating; 126 Change of Time; 127 New Hungarian Folksong, 1v, pf; 128 Stamping Dance; 129 Alternating Thirds; 130 Village Joke; 131 Fourths; 132 Major Seconds Broken and Together; 133 Syncopation III; 134 Three Studies in Double Notes; 135 Perpetuum mobile; 136 Whole-tone Scale; 137 Unison; 138 Bagpipe Music; 139 Jack-in-the-Box vol.vi: 140 Free Variations; 141 Subject and Reflection; 142 From the Diary of a Fly; 143 Divided Arpeggios; 144 Minor Seconds, Major Sevenths; 145 Chromatic Invention III; 146 Ostinato; 147 March; 148–53 Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm

Op. 120 Seven Pieces from Mikrokosmos, 2 pianos, 1939–40

Op. 122 Suite, op.4b, 2 pianos, 1941





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