top of page

Romanian Folk Dances

Arranged for viola and piano by Alan Arnold

Romanian Folk Dances (Romanian: Dansuri populare românești) 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. Its title was originally Romanian Folk Dances from Hungary (Hungarian: Magyarországi román népi táncok), but was later changed by Bartók when Transylvania became part of Romania in 1920. It is nowadays available in the 1971 edition which is written with key signatures although Bartók rarely used key signatures.


Aside from the version Bartók wrote for a small orchestral ensemble, some of Bartók's friends wrote adaptations or transcriptions of this piece for several different ensembles. Especially, Zoltán Székely's version for violin and piano is not just a transcription, but also an arrangement and adaptation of the piece for these two instruments. Some of the modifications Székely made included transposing some of the movements (the second movement was transposed from D minor to F♯ minor, the third from B minor to D minor and the fourth from A major to C major), repeating some sections, adding bars, and using several techniques for the violin such as artificial harmonics, double stops, and Sautillé.


Today's version arranged for Viola and Piano by Alan Arnold is from the original Zoltan Szekely transcriptions.


I. Bot tánc / Jocul cu bâtă (Stick Dance)

II. Brâul (Sash Dance)

III. Topogó / Pe loc (In One Spot)

IV. Bucsumí tánc / Buciumeana (Dance from Bucsum)

V. Román polka / Poarga Românească (Romanian Polka)

VI. Aprózó / Mărunțel (Fast Dance)

bottom of page