In relation to the final statement of the principal theme in Kodaly's Dance Of Galanta below, can anyone tell me?

  1. What key is this? The 2 naturals seem to cancel out the previous key signature of D Major, which could signify A minor, except the initial statement of the theme had the same key signature, but was actually in E minor. The main chord is Bb, which doesn't fit A minor or E minor.

  2. What scale is being played by the flute in the top line? It sounds modal, but I can't figure out which scale/mode it is, especially as I haven't figured out the key.

P.S. There is also a string section here, but I couldn't fit all into my photo.The 3rd line instrument with 3 flats is clarinet in A, so if we lower C minor by 3 this would also signify A minor, which is the main key of the piece.

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  • youtu.be/dBLPkWbhn2k?t=604 if you'd like to hear it. – user48353 Apr 6 '19 at 4:59
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    Finally an interesting question. Thank you for showing me this music. I want to listen to it this week-end. Didn’t you find this analysis? rhinegold.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/… – Albrecht Hügli Apr 6 '19 at 5:41
  • @replete Yes, I forgot to include the link to the piece, thanks for that. – John MC Apr 6 '19 at 10:08
  • I didn't find this analysis Albrecht and it's very useful indeed, thanks for that! – John MC Apr 6 '19 at 10:10
  1. ... previous key signature of D Major, which could signify A minor,

You are right:

we were in D-major and now it changes to a-minor. But first this chord is Bb7.

So the flute plays te,la,so,fe,so,fe,so,la,so, (Bb7) with chromatic 4th ...

Jonathan Jones gives a fine detailed analysis of this work.


... the following analyses drill down into each of the above sections, considering the following guiding questions: What are the ‘Hungarian’ elements on display? How does Kodály use his modest orchestral forces to maximum effect?

What are the key melodic, harmonic and rhythmic features that contribute to the style and character of the dances?

Bars 229-235

In keeping with the tension in the preceding harmonies, this Maestoso statement is over an unstable B flat 7, with the added feature of trumpet triplets.

It is also said a lot of history, principles and scales (pentatonic and modal)

  1. What scale is being played by the flute in the top line?

Mind that Kodaly like Bartok experimentd with his own music language that can’t always be pressed in a traditional tonality.

But here it is quite Bb scale with minor 7th and I consider the natural E as a changing note to F. (As the melody keeps this E in the following bars we could also say this passage is Bb-lydian, but there the Ab wouldn’t fit.)

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  • Thanks a lot Albrecht, this makes sense. So could I describe this as a B flat scale with minor 7th and chromatic E and C#? – John MC Apr 6 '19 at 10:21
  • ...that is, considering the E natural as a "chromatic" changing note to F, and also considering the C#'s in the 3rd and 4th bars of the melody? – John MC Apr 6 '19 at 13:59
  • yes, especially as th C# becomes a C (natural) in the next bar. – Albrecht Hügli Apr 6 '19 at 15:43

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