The Use of Folkloric Elements in Piano Music by Grieg, MacDowell, Ravel, Bartók and Prokofiev

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Suwanpotipra, Natnaree
Dedova, Larissa
The idea of expressing one’s national identity was popular among composers from the mid-19th century. In turn, folk music that originated from one’s native country became a musical source of influence for many composers. With the vast number of regions, cultures, and traditions in Europe and the United States, composers were able to create and experiment with many new ways to incorporate elements of folk music into their work, many of which contributed to the piano repertoire. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore folkloric are used in piano music of composers from five regions, and how those composers came upon these influences. Grieg does not only use Norwegian folk music directly in his works, but also composed music that reflects the Norwegian nature and scenery. MacDowell’s interest in literature and folklore led him to tales told in the southern region of the United States, one of which is included in this dissertation repertoire. Ravel and Prokofiev’s works also draw upon tales, sometimes even for children, written by famous literary figures of their country or influenced by their cultures. Lastly, Bartók’s collection of folk music from remote regions in Hungary that he researched and transcribed himself became a basis for many of his works. The repertoire of this dissertation is presented in a two-CD album recorded in the Dekelboum Concert Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park. The recordings will be made available in the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM).