Intermediate Hungarian Folk/Gypsy Music?

May 25, 2019, 11:00 AM · Hey all,

As I'm recently becoming more and more interested in my Hungarian ancestry, I'm hoping to find some Hungarian folk/gypsy music to play (I know my grandfather would be thrilled to hear it!).

The caveat is that my level is about Suzuki book 5/6. The Hungarian music that I've come across -- Brahms' Hungarian Dances arranged by Joachim, or something like this -- appear to be well above my level.

Does anyone know of any fun Hungarian folk music that might be appropriate to a player at my level? Thanks very much!

Replies (13)

Edited: May 25, 2019, 12:37 PM · Peter Cooper: Eastern European Fiddle Tunes: 80 Traditional Pieces for Violin. Several Hungarian tunes in this book I found at Shar. Sweet tunes all throughout.

Also, Hungarian Dances Book 1: now 1-10 Johannes Brahms Arranged by Joseph Joachim.... Ludwig Masters String Music. Even though you say this is above your level, I would give it a try. Listen first - a lot. Then slowly ever slowly, venture into the notes phrase by phrase.

May 25, 2019, 12:40 PM · The Béla Bartók violin duos might be fun to check out. They are all of varying difficulty and many incorporate or draw on Hungarian folk music.
May 25, 2019, 1:01 PM · Mel Bay has two books appropriate for lower technical grades; East Europe violin duets, and "Gypsy" violin, arranged by Mary Ann Harbar.
May 25, 2019, 2:46 PM · Thanks for the recommendations everyone. I will check all of these out. And I welcome any more recommendations as well!
May 25, 2019, 9:42 PM · My kids have used the Harbar book, and my little one (age 9, end of Book 6) was able to play quite a bunch of them, even at age 7. Lots of them are very accessible. My son likes to improvise on them to make them harder. Also Monti Csardas is not all that hard -- probably OK for around book 6/7 level.
May 25, 2019, 9:43 PM · Hello, I don't mean to self promote, but I did produce a course like that a few years ago featuring someone who truly specializes in that tradition.

Hungarian folk music is a bit of a vague term because for instance, the csardas songs often played in Hungary is actually not considered Hungarian folk music by hungarians themselves.

The online video lessons I produced has stuff from Hungary and other countries in similar styles.

Here are samples:

The lesson includes the videos / mp3s / backing tracks / basic notation / explanations

I think if you can do Suzuki 6 you should be able to manage.

May 27, 2019, 1:18 PM · nice gypsy playing, just curious, is he blind?
May 27, 2019, 2:33 PM · I believe Tcha Limberger is blind, but Denis could confirm.
Not Hungarian folk music, but very beautiful Gypsy Jazz.

May 27, 2019, 4:06 PM · If you like music from that corner of the world, you might find this useful:égorie:Style
May 27, 2019, 9:19 PM · hello, yes he is blind. He has a very deep knowledge of many eastern European folk music often associated with Gypsy musicians. I hope to do more in-depth stuff of that stuff with him one day
May 27, 2019, 10:24 PM · I don't know, this guy (Stefan Dymiter) is pretty cool...
May 29, 2019, 3:30 PM · I recently purchased a collecton of Hungarian folk music, and I wiil return home in a week or so and then will post details of it. It does contain many Cossack songs, and a range of dance music.

However, it is a little bit like having a collection of Celtic tunes: the performer has to meet signicant challeges to turn the basic tune into a concert or dance piece.

Adding bowing, ornaments, dynamics, introductions, coda, variations, second lines, harmony and rhythmic comp, obligato solos, timbrel nuances ... there is a lot of work to do before you have a truly idiomatic performance, one that will make grandpa smile wistfully, with gratitude.

(And these challenges have tripped up generations of fiddlers, who simply bow for speed, and play three repetitions of the basic tune.)

June 1, 2019, 3:43 AM · Ooops!

The book I had in mind when I replied, and which I have in my hand now, is 201 Ukrainian Folk Songs, no publisher, no dates or editors,just a 136 page book, plastic spiral comb binding.


Now that I have put my misfire back on the desk, I have been able to pick up The Hungarian Club Date Handbook, by Irving Kritchmar, published by Harold Branch Publishing Inc, 42 Cornell Drive, Plainview L.I., New York 11803, and copyright 1972.

This book contains XIV sets of three melody and chords versions of Hungarian songs (so, 42 tunes), is also plastic spiral bound, and has some interesting notes on Hungarian (Gypsy) Music, The Czardas, and a Guide To Playing The Music In This Book. Each set contains a Helgato, a Lassau (slow section of Czardas, and a Friska (fast section of Czardas)

The "author", according to notes in the book, "is considered one of the greatest performers of gypsy music in the world." ... Hmmm. You might like to research that.

Anyway, I have some Hungarian folk music that you could arrange (or I will write an arrangement for you, if you are not confident in this skill), just to get you started. Or you could obtain the book yourself. The typesetting of this music is long out of copyright.

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