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Hungary

Geography & Topography

Capital:  Budapest; 1 737 000 inhabitants

Area:   93,030 sq km

Language: Hungarian

Religion: 54.5% Catholic, 19.5% Protestants

Currency: Forint

History

After a Celt and Roman period, Hungary was founded in the late 9th century by the Hungarian prince Arpad.  The kingdom was viewed as one of the cultural centers of the Western world and lasted for 946 years. After 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation (1541-1699), Hungary was integrated into the Hapsburg Monarchy which became from 1867 to 1918 half of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy.

Hungary was very powerful and in great expansion until World War I but it has lost around 70% of its territory and about one third of its population. The kingdom was succeeded by an authoritarian regime, followed by a Communist era (1947-1989) during which Hungary gained substantial international attention during its revolution of 1956. Opening its border with Austria in 1989 accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Nowadays, the government is a parliamentary republic established in 1989 which has become a high-income economy and a regional leader.

Performing Arts

Music

Hungarian music is composed mainly of Hungarian folk music and music from famous composers such as Liszt and Bartok. One of the greatest Hungarian composers, Béla Bartók was also among the most significant musicians of the 20th century. His style was influenced by themes, modes and rhythmic pattern of the Hungarian and neighboring folk music traditions he studied, which he synthesized to create his own music.



Ferenc (Franz) Liszt, one of the greatest pianists of all times; well-known composer and conductor.

Hungary has made many contributions to the fields of folk, popular and classical music. The establishment of a music academy by Ferenc Erkel and Franz Liszt contributed to produce an important number of musicians. Hungarian folk music is really popular and plays a major part in Hungarian music. Hungarian classical music was considered to be an experiment composed of Hungarian music antecedents and made in Hungary. Hungarian composers used the rural peasant music to create Hungarian classical music. Indeed, composers such as Bartók and Kodály used folk themes in their music. Kodály was more in the research of a typical and distinctive Hungarian musical style whereas Bartok collected songs from neighboring countries to compose.


 

 

 

Béla Bartók: Hungarian has spread to neighboring countries because of its history, The Busójárás carnival is a major Hungarian folk music event which is mostly featured by the Bogyiszló orchestra. Though popular music was censored during the communist era in Hungary (1944-1989) because of the ideological impurity side, the Hungarian music managed to recover with the production of successful jazz artist such as the trumpeter Rudolf Tomsits or the pianist-composer Karoly Binder. Rock band such as Illés, Metró or Omega are still very popular in Hungary nowadays.

Dance

 

Hungarian traditional dance repertoire includes not only the territory of modern Hungary, but also the Hungarian populations that were part of the former territories of the Austro-Hungarian, sometimes called Greater Hungary. These are mainly in Transylvania (now Romania), Vojvodina (Serbia today), a small part of western Ukraine, a large part of Slovakia and Croatia (as well as some Austrian villages today).

 

 

 

 

From the formal point of view, the general register of Hungarian dances can be divided into four categories:

  • Karikázó: Rounds of singing girls.
  • Csárdás: This is a typical dance for couples. The couples have to perform the exact same dancing at the same time.
  • Verbunkos: This dance was inspired by the dancing in the army. This is performed by one single man.
  • Ugrós: This is a Hungarian folk dance which is also known as the jumping dance.

There is always a big part of improvisation in the Hungarian dance. The performers dance according to their mood, state of mind, and of course according to the rhythm.  Daniel Berzsenyi wrote this sentence about Hungarian dance: “The laws are its own and enthusiasm sets the limit.”

The national Ethnographic Museum of the State Folk Ensemble has covered almost 10,000 dance variations from 700 different Hungarian villages.

Folk Dance

 

Interesting facts:

  • Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe, founded way back in the year 896 AD.
  • Hungary has one of the most important thermal spring cultures in the entire Europe
  • Hungarians have a long history of inventions. Some of the most well known inventions created by Hungarians are; Rubik’s cube, ball point pen, tungsten and krypton bulbs, and the carburetor.

Hugarian community in Australia:

More Information on the Hungarian community: