Hungarian Folk Song Research in the Tápió Region
Ethnomusicology in Hungary began in the 19th century. Upon the invention and appearance of the phonograph, and by the efforts of ethnomusicologists Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, the theory of Hungarian folk music research was formulated. The goal has always been to preserve our folk song values, bequeath them to future generations, incorporate the Hungarian folk songs into classical music, and introduce daily music lessons (singing) to education to strengthen the Hungarian sense of identity. This was the drive behind my fieldwork, my own research conducted in the 21 towns and villages along River Tápió, my homeland – my goal was to find the folk song values in the 21th century. Upon summarizing the findings of the new research together with the researches ongoing since 1903, as a result, we now have 1,200 folk songs performed by 380 singers, and compiled by 33 researchers. Publishing the folk songs commenced in 2009, and these songs can be re-learned locally and regionally in schools during music classes, or in elementary schools. By doing so, students will be introduced to and learn about their local heritage, strengthen their sense of identity, and keep and preserve the several-hundred-year-old folk songs of their predecessors. Upon re-learning the folk songs of their region, the young and talented singers of the Tápió River region have had a series of new and nice successes. By compiling, arranging and organizing the tunes and melodies, I have managed to edit and publish in the past 10 years 22 publications either in book format or on CD or DVD-ROM. These publications by now have become educational materials from kindergarten to the Academy of Music.
The long-term goal of this research is to make sure that in the 187 towns and villages in Pest County, and later on in all towns and villages in the entire area of Hungary, the folk song values can be revealed by finding folk singers, and by summarizing these values together with the researches of the past, anyone should be able to learn about the tunes and melodies of the folk songs of their regions. This huge task was undertaken by Hungarian pianist and composer, Jenő Takács in the Philippines 70 years ago, and now his research findings constitute an integral part of UNESCO World Heritage. Our perspective or approach to research may as well be of assistance as regards research activities carried out in other countries, where such value preservation activities have not yet been done.
21th century fieldworks are equally valuable and may fill the gap in the beginning, similarly to those carried out 50 or 100 years ago, since each researcher recorded the then-current tunes and melodies. Based on scientific classification and grouping of tunes and melodies enables us to differentiate between more archaic or newer tunes and melodies. From an artistic and educational aspect, the tunes and melodies recorded and documented from authentic sources enable re-learning, so that they can be preserved for hundreds of years to come.
Keywords - Ethnomusicology, Sense of Identity, 21th Century Fieldwork, Re-Learning, Education, Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Music