Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Although of considerably distinct ethnicity, China and the Balkan states may be thematically united in terms of their struggles to preserve their unique national identities. Whether against Mongol invasion or Austro-Hungarian autocracy, the need to be a self-determining race in its own right is a common thread. In both cases, the folk tradition in its various manifestations has survived against adversity, and furthermore has beguiled invaders with its beauty. These two genres of folk music are embodiments of a resilience of spirit.

This investigation will concentrate on the study of some examples of Chinese classical music in comparison with Béla Bartók?s Concerto For Orchestra. Bartók is known for preserving the Hungarian folk tradition with utmost faithfulness, having collated many recordings of Hungarian folk music and incorporated them into his compositions.

An alliance with nature and cultural origins appears to be an underlying concept that reconciles the characteristics of both folk musics.

Perhaps the most fundamental musical construct in folk is the pentatonic scale: Oriental: gong-shang-jiao-zhi-yu Western: do-re-mi-so-la This model appears at the beginning of a hauntingly beautiful song called Gaoshan Luishui (Tall Mountains And Flowing Water): [play extract #1: Gaoshan Luishui] Gaoshan Luishui The first few bars of Bartók?s Concerto For Orchestra, Movt. I, are also constructed upon a pentatonic scale: [play ex. #2: Concerto For Orchestra, Mvt I, bb.1-6] I - Introduzione scales in ascending order: Gaoshan Luishui Concerto For Orchestra la-pentatony mi-pentatony The relative minor/la-pentatony is very pronounced in Gaoshan Luishui creating its mournful tone. Furthermore, the rhythmic figure appears frequently. The inversion of this figure ( ) is known as a maruntel, a sort of Romanian dance. This motif appears repeatedly throughout the Concerto For Orchestra, but is particularly prevalent in the fifth movement (Finale): V - Finale In ancient times, the Chinese considered music as having...