Béla Viktor János Bartók (1881 – 1945) was a Hungarian
composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most
important composers of the 20th century; he and Liszt
are regarded as Hungary's greatest composers (Gillies
2001). Through his collection and analytical study of
folk music, he was one of the founders of
Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56, BB 68 is a suite of six
short piano pieces composed by Béla Bartók in 1915. He
later orchestrated it for small ensemble in 1917 as Sz.
68, BB 76.
It is based on seven Romanian tunes from Transylvania,
originally played on fiddle or shepherd's flute. The
original name for the piece was titled Romanian Folk
Dances from Hungary but was later changed by Bartók
when Transylvania joined Romania in 1918. It is
nowadays available in the 1971 edition which is written
with key signatures although Bartok rarely ever wrote
The second movement is a typical dance from Romania
called "Brâul" (Peasant Costume), for which
traditionally a sash or a waistband was used. This
melody came from Igriș, in the Banat region.
The third dance "Der Stampfer" (Standing Still) comes
also from Igriş, but its theme is much darker and
its melody recreates Middle Eastern instruments, such
as the flute.