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Bela Vikto Janos Bartok was born March 25 1881 in Nagyszentimiklos Hungary Bartoks childhood was ridden with illness he suffered from eczema a skin rash from a smallpox vaccination pneumonia and was diagnosed with a spinal curvature His illnesses caused him to withdraw from others making him shy and often alone as a child However Bartoks musical interests were expressed at an early age and he began piano lessons at the age of five When he was seven years old it was found that Bartok had absolute pitch Bartok performed for the first time in public as a pianist and composer when he was eleven years old Bartok continued his studies in various cities among them was Budapest where he also taught piano at the Royal Academy of Music from 1907 until 1934 Bartok conducted extensive research on Hungarian folk music throughout his life gathering and recording thousands of his native tunes In 1934 Bartok continued to immerse himself in the study of Hungarian folk music as a member of the Hungarian Academy of Science Later in 1940 Bela Bartok immigrated to the United States and continued his research at Columbia University for a year Bartok who had suffered a number of serious illnesses throughout his life succumbed to leukemia in New York City on September 26 1945 Bela Bartok is among the most original figures in 20th century music Bartok lived during a turbulent time in Europe nationalism dominated all aspects of society including culture Hungarian folk music which was discovered to be actually gypsy music largely fascinated Bartok he systematically collected and scientifically classified thousands of melodies from Hungary and other countries 1 During his analysis Bartok found that Hungarian peasant music to be different from any other because of its isometric strophe-structure pentatonic formations and variable tempo giusto rhythms Stevens 26 Bartok came to develop his own style by assimilating asymmetrical rhythms characteristic of Hungarian folk music Bartok was strongly influenced
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