National/Ethnic Music: Gypsy Music

Figure 1.--The picure here is of a Hungarian Gypsy boy named Milane Petrovich, and were taken by the renowned equine photographer Robert Vavra. They appeared in the children's book "Milane" which was published in the Netherlands during 1969. As a bit of trivia, at Vavra's encouragement, Milane studied art, and became a rather successful artist. He has had showings both in Europe and the United States.

Gypsy music has been influential in several areas of music. We do know that gypsey music has influenced some important Austrian and Hungarian composers. Pablo de Sarasate comes to mind with his beautiful "Zigeunerweisen" (Gypsy Airs). Also Johannes Brahms, who departed from his usual North-German compositions to write some stirring "Hungarian" walzes and of course, Franz Liszt, who listened to Gypsy music as a boy in Hungary and who proclaimed his Hungarian Rhapsodies to be authentic folk music, a mistake that later was corrected by Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly who composed the real thing: Magyar-inspired melodies. Many other (lighter) composers used gypsy music in their operettas: Johann Strauss, Franz Léhar, Emmerich Kalman and Leo Fall. One of Strausses operettas was even called " Der Zigeunerbaron" (The Gypsy Baron), Léhar wrote one with the title "Zigeunerliebe" (Gypsy Love) and Kalman "Der Zigeunerprimas" (a primas is the first violinist in a Gypsy orchestra). One of the most famous jazz guitarists in Europe was Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), who was born in a Romani caravan in Belgium. He lost two fingers on his left hand in 1928 and developed a special style of playing. He became famous in Paris nightclubs. He has been listed in most music encyclopedias. He was a real gypsy and proud of his heritage.


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Created: 6:00 AM 3/21/2005
Last updated: 7:17 PM 3/27/2005