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Humanities LibreTexts

6.10: Music of Nationalism

  • Page ID
    54792
  • Nationalism, found in many genres, is marked by the use of folk songs or nationalist themes in operas or instrumental music. Nationalist composers of different countries include Russian composers such as Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Borodin, and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (members of the “Kuchka”); Bohemian composers such as Antonin Dvorak and Bedřich Smetana; Hungarian composers such as Liszt; Scandinavian composers such as Edvard Grieg and Jean Sibelius; Spanish composers such as Enrique Granados, Joaquin Turina, and Manuel de Falla; and British composers such as Ralph Vaughn Williams.

    Composers looked to their native as well as exotic (from other countries) mu- sic to add to their pallet of ideas. Nationalism was expressed in several ways:

    • songs and dances of native people
    • mythology: dramatic works based on folklore of peasant life (Tchaikovsky’s Russian fairy-tale operas and ballets)
    • celebration of a national hero, historic event, or scenic beauty of country
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