Folk Song in the music of Joseph Haydn
Haydn is well known for his playfulness and his use of a variety of styles. He loved to explore new musical materials from several sources including Gypsy music, popular, and historical tunes from Scotland and Celtic music of the British Isles, and presents it well in his works as a flow of imagination. He presents these materials as a topic that can participate in the musical discourse, not just a simple exotic curiosity. Folksong is one of the major elements Haydn loved to use in all of his genres, both instrumental and vocal music. The materials of folksongs and folkdance are found in the melodies and rhythms he used. These melodies often work well as the theme of his second movements, or as a thematic subject for the last movement in his later symphonies. Folksongs and popular dance tunes were at the roots of his earliest musical experiences, and he carried them with him into his old age.
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