Budapest Museum of Musical History

The beautiful Budapest Museum of Music History is located at Táncsics Mihály utca 7, Budapest, Pest 1014, Hungary. It places a large emphasis on Hungary’s musical history including its musical evolution from the 18th to 20th centuries as well as Hungary’s folk instruments. The museum also has exhibits about Hungary and its skill in manufacturing musical instruments from this same time period.

One of the museum’s most alluring attractions is a room solely devoted to the brilliant Hungarian composer Béla Bartók Born in 1881, history places him alongside Liszt as one of Hungary’s greatest composers. He was one of the founders of ethnomusicology, which is the study of the social aspects of music in cultural contexts. Bartók studied under many musical greats including Istavan Thoman and Janos Koessler. His first major work, Kossuth, was a symphonic poem honoring a Hungarian hero which he completed in 1903.

Soon after, Bartók moved to the United States where he began composing more music, making a point to incorporate Magyar peasant music into his compositions. He also used many folk songs and many of his compositions were largely inspired by folk melodies. In 1911, he wrote his opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, but it was The Wooden Prince, a ballet, which won him international fame. Bartók obtained a fellowship at Columbia University and then began working on a collection of folk music for its libraries. He began displaying symptoms of leukemia in 1940 and in 1945, he wrote Piano Concerto No. 3. Bartók passed away on September 26, 1945.

The museum also has many early Hungarian musical instruments on display that help illustrate the country’s rich collection of Slavic folk music. In particular, the harpsichord is one of the country’s most influential instruments. They also have instruments known as a doudka, a type of flute, as well as other stringed instruments - though you won't find a Fender Strat or Gibson guitars in there ... Many Slavic folk songs focus on calendar rites like the harvest while the other songs focus on family events like births and deaths. They also have epic songs known as bylinas and historic songs.

The museum keeps odd hours. From March 16 to November 15, it’s open on Tuesdays from 4 PM to 8 PM. The rest of the week, it’s open from 10 AM to 6 PM. From November 16 to March 15, it’s open on Tuesdays from 3 PM to 6 PM. The rest of the week it’s open from 10 AM to 5 PM. It’s important to note that the museum is always closed on Mondays!

The museum is a great place to go and the price tag won’t break the bank, either. It costs 400 forints for adults and 200 for students to enter the museum. At current rates in USD, it comes out to $1.95 for adults and less than a dollar for students!

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