Verbunkos

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Verbunkos

 

(Hungarian verbunkos; from the German Werbung, recruitment), initially a genre (later also a style) of Hungarian dance music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It arose in connection with the induction of recruits into the army in Hungary, during which dances with a characteristic musical accompaniment were performed.

The verbunkos was based on the verbunk dance. The music was performed primarily by gypsy ensembles; it merged heterogeneous national elements (Hungarian, South Slavic, and Rumanian) and reflected the influence of German and Italian professional music. The characteristic stylistic features of the verbunkos are distinctive, syncopated rhythms; the “gypsy” or “Hungarian” scale, with an augmented second; the alternation of slow and fast tempos; ornamentation; and improvisation. The golden age of the verbunkos was associated with the Hungarian virtuoso violinists and composers J. Bihari, J. Lavotta, and A. Csermák. The verbunkos greatly influenced the development of Hungarian national music; it was reflected in the works of Liszt, F. Erkel, and Kodály, as well as Haydn, Schubert, Berlioz, Brahms, and others.

P. F. VEIS