The "new Hungarian art music" of Béla Bartók and its relation to certain Fibonacci series and golden section structures



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Béla Bartók (1881-1945), a Hungarian composer and pianist, began his folk song investigations in 1905-6, which were to change the course of his compositional development. The results of these journeys are seen in his early folk song settings: for instance the Eight Hungarian Folk Songs (1907-1917) and Bluebeard’s Castle (1911). These works, among others, are part of this study. The first chapter discusses the Bagatelles (1908) and many folk song settings. The chapter looks at the formal proportions determined by the Golden Section and Fibonacci Series. Chapter two discusses the contrapuntal procedures that were influenced by these proportions. Next a long discussion of the use of various pitch collections and devices in the compositions tries to determine the relation between Golden Section proportions and z-cells, x-cells and other pitch collections in the 20 Hungarian Folk Songs (1929), Eight Hungarian Folk Songs (1907-1917) and Music for String Instrument, Percussion and Celeste (1936). The opera is the focus of the next chapter with the proportions of Golden Section and the many related numerical values of the Fibonacci Series. The last chapter discusses the “new chromaticism” of the “New Hungarian Art Music” and the unique relationship of the opera Bluebeard’s Castle and the Cantata Profane (1930).