Music theory
Musical analysis

Recomposing Bartók's Mikrokosmos

Bach titled the collection Inventions and Sinfonias, BWV 772 - 801:

"Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard - especially, however, those desirous of learning - are shown a clear way not only to learn to play .... and along with this not only to obtain good inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition."

With his Mikrokosmos (1926 - 1939), Bela Bartók continued this tradition. Not only are his pieces pedagogical keyboard works (i.e. technical exercises for the keyboard player), but they show also several aspects of the compositional process. In Bartók's own words, the Mikrokosmos "appears as a synthesis of all the musical and technical problems...". Of course he refers to his attempt to synthesize Eastern (folk music) and Western musical traditions.

So Bartók's Mikrokosmos is not merely a work of practical value, but for the young composer it could be of great importance.

In this section, I use more or less a method of simulated composition and will recompose pieces from Bartók's Mikrokosmos. Simulated composition is a very useful analytical tool, for it uncovers principles of the creative process that really matter; principles which get lost in a purely disintegrated analysis.

MikrokosmosTopicView HTMLDownload PDF
1. no. 20trichordsView HTML-versionDownload PDF-version
2. no. 21motive, textureView HTML-versionDownload PDF-version
3. no. 41melody, accompaniment, thirdsView HTML-versionDownload PDF-version
4. no. 42binary form and voice exchangeView HTML-versionDownload PDF-version
5. no. 56organum, bourdonView HTML-versionDownload PDF-version
6. no. 67thirds and soundView HTML-versionDownload PDF-version