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Szabolcsi, Bence


SZABOLCSI, BENCE (1899–1973), Hungarian musicologist. Born in Budapest, he was the son of Miksa *Szabolcsi and brother of Lajos *Szabolcsi, and studied at Budapest with Kodály. He was the first to collect the notated relics of old Hungarian music from manuscripts and prints, and began publishing them in 1929. From 1929 to 1930 he was the coeditor of Zenei Szemle ("Musical Review") and in 1930 edited, with A. Tóth, the first scholarly dictionary of Hungarian music. He was professor of music history at the Budapest Academy of Music from 1945 and director of the Bartók Archives there from 1961.

His research and publications were devoted to European art music; the history of music in Hungary; Hungarian national music; and the comparative study of folk music styles of the world. Szabolcsi's interest in Jewish music was expressed in three studies on Hebrew melody. During the difficult period of 1936 to 1944 he took part in the efforts of Hungarian Jewry to foster cultural activities within the community, and collaborated in the publication of numerous music booklets for Jewish youth. He also edited the music supplement to the Haggadah with a Hungarian translation which was published in Budapest in 1942 (Yaari no. 2293). His works include A xvi. század magyar históriás zenéje … ("History of 16th-Century Hungarian Music…" 1931); A zene története ("History of Music," 1940, 19684); and A melódia története (1950, 19572), reworked as Bausteine zu einer Geschichte der Melodie (1959).


mgg, S.V., incl. bibl. to 1962; Grove, Dict, s.v., incl. bibl. to 1947; M. Berlász and I. Homolya, in: Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, ii (1969), 7–25 (entire volume dedicated to Szabolcsi on his 70th birthday and includes a bibliography of his writings).

[Andre Hajdu]

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