Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967)

Born in Hungary, Kodály grew up in small villages in Hungary and Slovakia.  He learned violin, sang in a cathedral choir and composed music as a child, though he had little formal training.  At eighteen, Kodály began to study modern languages at the University of Budapest.  He graduated with a degree in Hungarian and German and later completed his Doctorate of Philosophy in linguistics.  While studying languages, he also studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music.  During this time he formally studied composition.

Kodály’s compositions include Orchestral, Chamber and Instrumental works, Operas, Choral works, songs and music for children.  His love and deep respect for folk music is evident in many of his compositions which earned him the disdain of the elite society of Hungary for many years.

Disregarding the contempt of upper class Hungarians for their folk music and native tongue, (upper classes spoke German),  Kodály set off on a quest to document, arrange and analyse the traditional folk music of his beloved Hungary. With the help of his friend and fellow composer Béla Bartók and several other dedicated musicians and educator’s they collated around one thousand folk and children’s songs.

During these years, Kodály became increasingly aware and concerned about the lack of musical literacy of Hungarian musicians.  His dream of a musically literate nation, where all musical works were accessible to everyone regardless of wealth or position was formed.  His attention turned to the need for a comprehensive music education approach across Hungary.


Choksy, L. (1974). The Kodály Method: Comprehensive Music Education From Infant To Adult. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
Hoermann, D (2009). Kodály in Australia
Wicks, D (2009). The Kodály Concept http://kodaly.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16:the-kodaly-concept&catid=56:conceot&Itemid=56
Wicks, D (2009) Who Was Zoltán Kodály? http://kodaly.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23:who-was-zoltan-kodaly&catid=56:conceot&Itemid=56
Zoltán Kodály, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodaly