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Béla Bartók, Concerto for Orchestra, and Affinities with Korean Folk Music



Volume I

Béla Bartók, Concerto for Orchestra, and Affinities with Korean Folk Music

Volume II

Korean Rhapsody for Orchestra


Kwangsun Hwang

Doctor of Philosophy in Music

University of California, Los Angeles, 2014

Professor Paul Chihara, Co-Chair

Professor Ian Krouse, Co-Chair

When I realized that both Hungary and Korea belong to the same Ural-Altaic language region, I began to ask whether there is any connection or similarity between Béla Bartok's music and Korean music. Bartók, one of the most representative composers of Hungary, was strongly influenced by Hungarian folk music. It is commonly believed that the cultural aspects of a nation or a region, including music, are strongly shaped by the spoken language in the land. Based on this notion, this dissertation explores certain affinities between Béla Bartók and Korean folk music. My discussion centers on Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra (1943), which represents the last and highest stage of Bartók's compositional career, during which he synthesized Eastern and Western components; and it uses this piece as the basis for comparing the composer with Korean folk music. In particular, I compare Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra and Korean folk music in terms of rhythmic patterns, scales, and articulation. In addition to offering insights on Bartók's Concerto and Korean folk music, this research examines Korean composers whose works have demonstrated similarities vis-à-vis Bartók. These composers include Isang Yun, Unyung La, and myself. The major purpose of this research is to uncover under-studied connections between Bartok's music and Korean folk music.

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