Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm- Bela Bartok

Bartok is and has always been one of my most favourite composers. His six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm are absolutely beautiful. These dances are the last series included in his Mikrokosmos volume 6.

For many years Bartok devoted himself to collect and document folk music from different countries. This affected and inspired his own compositions greatly.

He introduced the Bulgarian rhythm couple of times in his Mikrokosmos volume 4 and would return to it again in the final pieces of Mikrokosmos volume 6. These dances are usually performed as a group and are dedicated to Harriet Cohen who was a British pianist. The unusual aspect of these dances are the time signatures (4+2+3 over 8, or 2+2+3 over 8), Bartok composed his own melodic material based on the variety of rhythms of traditional Bulgarian Dances.

Bartok uses frequent bimodalism in these dances which was a compositional technique. Bimodality is the practice of using notes from two distinct pitch classes in a musical composition. The pitch classes could be Major or Minor keys it also can be Greek Modes.

Each of the dances has a unique character with a distinctive rhythmic pattern.

In the next blog the structure of each of the dances is going to be discussed.