Tíz is Hungarian for Ten

Wondering if your kiss is on his Liszt?

Resident music student currently studying at Cambridge Yodazilla wrote an essay on Franz Liszt's piano pieces and his Hungarian nationalism. Rather than waste our arguably precious time talking and reading about a team in the midst of a double-digit losing streak, let's enrich ourselves. It's what Moustakas would want.

It's all Yodazilla from here on out:

Musical nationalism, much like other aspects of music over the years, mirrored the political and social developments of the time. During the 18th century, Europe’s Enlightenment dominated the cultural landscape. An age of reason yielded a number of scientists and political philosophers concerned with democracy and free will. Such an age cannot extend forever, and the American Revolution in 1776 signaled the beginning of the end of this age.

The new age, the Romantic age, was dominated, conversely, by feeling, emotion, epic stories of individual achievement. Along with it came the rise of musical nationalism. After the American and French revolutions, emphasis was placed on the concept of the ‘nation’ or ‘nation-state.’ Artists of all kinds, along with the rising middle class, began to take pride in not only their ethnic background but their regional unification as well. Just as with the Enlightenment, this nationalistic age came down with a crash, as Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination prompted the beginning of World War I (and arguably, World War II).

Franz Liszt, born in 1811 and living till 1886, endured almost the entirety of this era. He was one of the principal composers and performers to fill the vast void left behind by the greats of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, the latter of whom died in 1827. Unlike those three, Liszt’s music was greatly inspired by nationalism, as Liszt was Hungarian.

Liszt’s Hungarian background exhibited itself in a number of ways. Most obviously were his 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies, pieces originally for piano (though some were indeed transcribed for orchestra). Take, for instance, the famous Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, which, among other appearances in famous media, accompanied both Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry. Of specific interest is Liszt’s use of the so-called Hungarian ‘Gypsy Scale’, a set of notes whose intervals did not conform to the traditional major/minor dichotomy used by the majority of composers. Later in life, Liszt composed a collection of czardas. Czardas were Hungarian dances based on folk tunes, the core matrix of any national styles.

Of course, there is quite a bit more to be said about Liszt and Nationalism, a fascinating topic, especially when one considers Soviet composers like Shostakovich. This is in direct contrast to the Royals losing yet another game, of which there is little to discuss outside of Yost fails and sarcastic uses of #ourtime.

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