How to play hungarian dance on piano

Viola Online String Class - Bartok's Hungarian Dance No. 5 - Romantic Music



Hungarian Dance No. 5

Fig. 4.2 Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German composer and used Hungarian folk tunes as the inspiration for his Hungarian Dances. He came from a family of musicians and began studying music at an early age, first with his father and later with teachers such as Eduard Marxsen, a prominent Hamburg pianist and composer. Brahms began his career as a musician when he was employed as a pianist to play popular music in local theaters and at eating and entertainment houses for the working class called Schänken. He also supplemented his income by composing arrangements for ensembles such as brass bands. These activities caused Brahms to become extremely interested in folk music, and he began compiling collections of European folksongs. His interest in folk music continued throughout his life, and one area of folk music which particularly fascinated Brahms, was the Hungarian style of gypsy music called style hongrois [1].

In 1853, Brahms went on a concert tour as an accompanist for the Hungarian violinist Ede Reményi. Through connections he made on tour, he met notable musicians such as Franz Liszt, the prominent violinist Joseph Joachim, and Robert and Clara Schumann. Robert Schumann invited Brahms to move to his home to study music with him, and while there, Brahms developed a close friendship with the Schumann family. When Robert Schumann was hospitalized for mental illness, Brahms stayed to assist the family, and eventually fell in love with Robert's wife, Clara. Clara was fourteen years older than Brahms, and was a gifted musician too (she was a brilliant pianist and a fine composer). When Robert died, leaving Clara free to marry, Brahms moved away, possibly frightened by the thought of losing his freedom (Clara was the mother of seven children). Although Brahms never married, he continued to express his love for Clara and her children throughout his life.

Although Brahms had been playing his piano arrangements of Hungarian folk tunes for friends for many years, he finally arranged them for publication and published two sets of 21 Hungarian Dances (ten in 1869 and another 11 in 1880). The lively rhythm and pleasing melody of his Hungarian Dances made them very popular, particularly with amateur musicians who enjoyed playing music in their homes, and his first arrangements were scored for four hands at one piano (two pianists, using the same piano-a popular medium for home musicians).  Brahms later arranged ten of these dances for solo piano and his violinist friend Joseph Joaquim arranged all 21 for violin and piano, but some of the most frequently performed versions of his Hungarian Dances are orchestral arrangements by Brahms and other composers. [2]

Brahms made it clear that he regarded his Hungarian Dances not as original works, but as arrangements of existing melodies – what he thought were Hungarian folk tunes (out of the 21 dances, nos. 11, 14, and 16 appear to be the only original melodies composed by Brahms). For this reason, he intentionally did not assign them opus numbers, and when Brahms submitted his Hungarian Dances to his publisher, he attached the following message: “I offer them as genuine gypsy children which I did not beget, but merely brought up with bread and milk.”

Despite Brahms’ efforts to clarify that he was the transcriber, not the author of the melodies he used in his Hungarian Dances, there still was controversy regarding the origin of the folk tunes. In 1879, Brahms’ former friend, the violinist Ede Reményi, claimed he was the actual composer of some of the melodies Brahms used in his Hungarian Dances and accused Brahms of plagiarizing the melodies by not identifying their sources.[3] Although Remenyi’s claims were largely discredited, Brahms did discover that some of the melodies he’d used weren’t folk tunes but were instead, melodies composed by local composers. For example, Hungarian Dance No. 5 appears to uses the Csárdás melody composed by the Hungarian composer Béla Kéler: "Bártfai emlék” (Brahms thought the csárdás tune he used was a traditional folk melody), and the melody used in the Vivace section towards the end of Hungarian Dance No. 5 came from a Hungarian folk song called “Uczu Bizon Megéreit a Káka" (No. 8 of "Fifty Original Folk & Hungarian Songs" collected by Ignácz Bognár in 1858). The source material for the melodies used by Brahms’ in his Hungarian Dances is still a matter of debate amongst music scholars, with some saying it could have been Reményi, not Kéler who was the source for the first melodic section of Hungarian Dance No. 5.[4][5]

TECHNIQUE TIPS: This arrangement of Hungarian Dance No. 5 features tempo changes such as rubato and ritardando (abbreviated as rit.). Rubato is an Italian term that means means "robbed," and it refers to a temporary robbing of time by either slowing or speeding the tempo or rhythmic value of notes in a passage of music. Ritardando means to gradually become slower and slower. This piece is a dance, and the dots over some of the notes indicate that a spicatto bow stroke should be used. Spicatto is an off-the-string, controlled bouncing bow stroke that produces a crisp sound and very short notes. Other bowing indications include the tenuto sign, a line drawn over or under the note: _ to indicate the note should be played sustained or broadly, and held for its whole value.

This piece also has sections with repeat signs, a first and second ending, and the sign D.C. al Coda (D.C. is an abbreviation for "da capo", and means "from the beginning," and coda means "tail," and refers to a concluding section of a piece). A double bar with two dots is a repeat marking, and indicates the music in between the repeat signs should be repeated. First and second endings should be played as follows: play the first ending the first time through the music, and then return to the beginning of the piece. When playing through the music for a second time, the first ending should be skipped over, and the second ending should be played. Towards the end of the piece, in measure 50, there is a repeat sign and a D.C. al Coda marking with the added notation, 2x. This means the D.C. al Coda marking should not be followed until you are playing through the music for the second time (after you've repeated the section). This should be played as follows: when you reach the repeat sign in measure 50, return to the repeat marking in measure 43, and repeat the section. When you reach the D.C. al Coda marking in measure 50 for the second time, go back to the beginning of the piece, play to the Coda sign: , then jump to the Coda section at the end to finish the piece (beginning in measure 51). A quadruple stop, a chord using four strings, is found in the last measure of this arrangement. To play the quadruple stop, let your bow balance on the lower two strings to play the lower double stop first, then quickly roll to the upper two strings and play the upper double stop. If this is too difficult, simply play the top note of the chord.


Return to Viola Class

© Copyright 2020 RK Deverich. All rights reserved.       

*Although this online viola class is provided free of charge, all rights are reserved and this content is protected by international copyright law. It is illegal to copy, post or publish this content in any form, and displaying any of this material on other websites, blogs or feeds is prohibited. Permission is given for individual users to print pages from this website for their personal, non-commercial use.

Johannes Brahms – Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor

Johannes Brahms

  • Born: 1833
  • Died: 1897
  • Nationality: German

Why is he a Trailblazer?

For many years the sound of the Hungarian Gypsy travelling bands could be heard in the countryside and cities of Europe.

Trailblazer Johannes Brahms was fascinated by the bands’ whirling melodies and dramatic rhythms. He introduced this music to a whole new audience when he wrote Gypsy-inspired dances for the piano – and then began super-sizing them for an entire orchestra.

Johannes Brahms

Radzi Chinyanganya introduces Hungarian Dance No. 5, one of Johannes Brahms’ most popular pieces. Inspired by the Hungarian folk dance Czárdás, it’s lively and full of energy.

Fast Facts

  • Born in Hamburg in Germany, Johannes Brahms quickly became a very talented pianist and would go on to premiere many of his own works at the piano.

  • A complete perfectionist, Brahms burnt lots of the music he’d written when he was young and, throughout his life, kept on destroying works he didn’t think were good enough.

  • Brahms could often be found walking in the mountains and exploring the countryside as he felt it helped him think through his musical ideas.

  • Beethoven’s music was a big influence on Brahms. Later in life Brahms lived in Vienna, the home of his favourite restaurant, “The Red Hedgehog”, and the city where his musical hero, Beethoven, had also lived.

Watch the full performance of Brahm’s piece by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Roderick Cox.

Hungarian Dance No. 5

While playing music in a tavern one evening Brahms met Eduard Remenyi, a famous Hungarian Gypsy violinist. Remenyi taught Brahms all about Gypsy music and Hungarian dances called csárdás.

Brahms was enthralled and used the rhythms and melodies of this music as his inspiration for his 21 Hungarian Dances, which he originally wrote for the piano.

He loved performing them for his friends and would later orchestrate three of the dances himself, with other composers arranging the remaining pieces.

The Hungarian Dance No.5 transforms the intimate drama of the Gypsy band into a big orchestral party – with wild string melodies and brassy foot-stomping rhythms.


Where next?

Why not listen to two other very different dances?

  • You could try the elegant Waltz of the Flowers from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

  • Or perhaps head out to Wild West and dance the Hoedown, from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo.

  • Explore our other Figurenotes arrangements and discover more about inclusive music-making with Ten Pieces.

  • Get creative and upload your responses using the Ten Pieces Uploader!

Hungarian Dance No. 5 - sheet music for piano

Contemporary music:

3 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | W | Y | Z | BUT | B | AT | G | D | E | AND | Z | And | To | L | M | H | O | P | R | FROM | T | F | X | H | W | E | YU | I am

Composers (classical music):

A | B | AT | G | D | E | AND | Z | And | Y | To | L | M | H | O | P | R | FROM | T | At | F | X | C | H | W | E | YU | I


Below you will find several versions of the piano sheet music for Johannes Brahms' famous piece Hungarian Dance No 5 in G Minor.

1. A simpler version of the notes for piano:

download notes

2. Complex notes:

Option 1

download notes

notes for violin and piano

download notes "Vegers dance" No. 5" for violin and piano

Notes for the ensemble of 4 hands

Download notes




Notes for tools (OV)



9000 9000 Classic music

More sheet music by this composer (performer)

Notes of a very beautiful and gentle lullaby by Brahms for a duet - violin and piano.

"Ballads" - a work of the German composer Brahms. You can download free sheet music in pdf format, packed in a zip archive, from the link below.

"Variation on a theme by Schumann" - a work by the German composer Brahms. You can download free sheet music in pdf format, packed in a zip archive, from the link below.

"Sonata in F minor" - a work by the German composer Brahms. You can download free sheet music in pdf format, packed in a zip archive, from the link below.

"Scherzo in E Flat Minor" is a work by the German composer Brahms. You can download free sheet music in pdf format, packed in a zip archive, from the link below.

"Sonata in F-sharp minor" - a work by the German composer Brahms. You can download free sheet music in pdf format, packed in a zip archive, from the link below.

"Sonata in C" is a work by the German composer Brahms. You can download free sheet music in pdf format, packed in a zip archive, from the link below.

Popular notes:

Kids with guns. Gorillaz - download sheet music for Vocal, Piano
Yiruma "Stay in memory" - sheet music
Tchaikovsky "Scherzo" - download sheet music for violin and piano
Etude No. 25 by Chopin (arranged by L. Godowsky) - sheet music
Romance "Oh, sing that song" (words by Pleshcheev)
Piece No. 1 "Etude"
I want sunshine. Pauls. Rainis - download sheet music for Vocal, Piano

history, video, content, interesting facts, listen

Johannes Brahms "Hungarian Dances"

Hungarian Dances Johannes Brahms is an extraordinary music for classical perception. Each work is unique in that it conveys the versatility of the national Hungarian flavor. Freedom and temperament capture the listener from the first sound.

The history of the creation of "Hungarian Dances" Brahms, the content of the works and many interesting facts, read on our page.

History of creation

In 1853, Johannes Brahms went on tour in Germany together with the talented Hungarian violinist Ede Remenyi. The musicians met in 1849. Then Remenyi first came on tour to Hamburg. Enthusiasm, love for one's own work and incredible skill delighted everyone who heard Ede's truly magical playing. He was famous for his temperamental improvisations on the themes of folk dances. Then Brahms and met the musician. After a trip to Paris, in the winter of 1852, Remenyi again ended up in Hamburg, and invited Johannes to go on tour with him around the cities of Germany.

The route included visits to famous musicians: Liszt and Schumann . The first large-scale point on the trip was Hannover. Along the way, the musicians gave concerts in small German towns - Vinsen, Lüneburg, Celle. It is impossible to convey what vivid impressions filled the young Brahms. Together with Ede, they walked a lot, got to know the locals, spontaneously could arrange an impromptu night concert. The listeners were delighted with the music. People crowded, had fun and enjoyed what they heard.

Outwardly, the musicians were very different: swarthy and energetic Remenyi and blue-eyed blond Brahms. They created only a visible contrast. Internal temperament was emphasized in creativity. Playing in the ensemble made it possible to demonstrate the real character of Brahms, revealed his artistry and charisma. Despite the fact that the program was approved, Brahms played without notes, he did not even take them with him, which once again indicated and added to the concert a sense of improvisation.

The folk tunes that were so often performed were not even written down. Subsequently, it is they who will become the famous " Hungarian dances ". The trip left countless warm memories of touring life, of the public. After 16 years, the composer will record the first ten dances for piano four hands, a year later 11 more compositions will be ready. In 1869, two notebooks will be published, which will bring great fame to the composer. Almost everyone who had an instrument in their house will begin to perform virtuoso compositions in four hands.

In 1872, the author again returns to his beloved Hungarian Dances and creates an arrangement for two hands of the first notebook, and eight years later the arrangement of the second notebook will be ready, and the third and fourth will also be completed.

In 1874, the author decided to orchestrate three numbers: No. 1, 3 and 10. Throughout his life, Johannes Brahms retained his love for Hungarian music. For him, this country has become a symbol of freedom and emancipation of the spirit. Thus, in 1861, wonderful Variations on a Hungarian song will appear.

Interesting facts

  • Ede Remenyi is the first violinist who managed to bring the art of verbunkos and chardash into a concert program. He was a popularizer of national Hungarian music in Europe, and then in America. Ede managed to do the impossible: to kindle a fiery gypsy passion in restrained and measured Europeans and Americans.
  • Hungarian dances had a significant impact on the development of ragtime and American music in general. A strong impression from listening to compositions was made on Scott Joplin, who highly appreciated the work of Brahms.
  • The creative union of Brahms and Remenyi did not last long. According to the composer, there was too much cunning, lies and pretense in the musician. Brahms always appreciated people for their sincerity and goodwill and did not tolerate any other attitude towards him. He found all the necessary traits in Josef Joachim. With a talented violinist, he met just during a trip to Hannover. In the future, Joachim will create an arrangement of "Hungarian Dances" for violin and piano. The comrade will be faithful to Brahms until the end of his life.
  • There are 4 notebooks of "Hungarian dances" in total.
  • The most famous compositions are considered to be No. 1 and 5. It is known that the melodies of these compositions belong to the Hungarian composer Béla Köhler. Brahms did not know this and considered music to be national folklore.
  • №11, 14, 16 completely written by the author, including the melody. In all other issues, the author quotes authentic Hungarian traditional music.
  • It is known that the Czech composer Antonin Dvořák selectively orchestrated "Hungarian Dances", which seriously influenced his further work. Prior to this, the composer wrote the collection "Slavic Dances".


Hungarian Dances is a collection of musical compositions consisting of four notebooks. The absence of a clear numbering allows the author to emphasize that the people are the author, and he is just an interpreter. The first, second and fourth notebooks traditionally include five compositions, the third included six compositions.

Dance No. 1 , written in the elegiac key of g-moll, is a Hungarian folk dance - csardas, many researchers claim that this is a slow variety of lashshu. The room is contrasting in mood and structure, which fully corresponds to the classical two-part form. The first part of the number has a hint of melancholy, regrets about the past, the slow pace emphasizes the nature of the work. The second part has a mobile, cheerful mood. Against the background of the previously stated musical material, sharp rhythms sound even more fun and playful. The composition in the orchestral version sounds especially elegant.

Hungarian Dance No. 1 (listen)

Dance No. 2 is written in the key of D minor. Genre orientation is chardash. The languid melody captures and carries away the listener from the first sound. The vibrating theme has a wide range of sound, which makes it especially interesting and embossed.

Dance No. 3 has a major key - F major. A bright and cheerful character defines the traditional Hungarian wedding dance in music. The feeling of a holiday is present throughout the entire issue.

Hungarian Dance No. 3 (listen)

Dance No. 4 is written in F minor. Pictures of a village holiday appear before my eyes. The sound-visual means used by the composer emphasize the characteristic features of traditional music. The atmosphere of verbunkos accompanies you from start to finish. Unusual imitation of the folk instruments of Hungary.

Dance No. 5 is the most famous and colorful composition. The original key is F-sharp minor. The genre nature of the theme is clearly manifested - chardash. The dotted rhythm gives the musical pattern sharpness and dynamics. The contrasting middle organically fits into the overall composition.

Hungarian Dance No. 5 (listen)

Dance No. 6 - is a vivid example of a miniature, sustained in true Hungarian traditions. The Des-dur tonality emphasizes the dynamism and colorfulness of the Hungarian folk dance. Changes in dynamics and tempo make the music lively and playful. Dense chords combined with an unpretentious, playful melody reflect the features of čardas. The use of cymbals and percussion in the orchestral version creates an atmosphere of lavish festivities.

Hungarian Dance No. 6 (listen)

Dance No. 7 is in A major. The composition immerses freedom-loving gypsies in the life. The work is distinguished by a fiery temperament and an incredibly fast change of emotional state.

Dance No. 19 is included in the fourth notebook and is written in the key of B flat major. At the time of Brahms, the number was a real hit, absolutely everyone knew it, regardless of age and wealth. The character resembles a river, the course of which changes with the direction of the wind. A calm, measured movement instantly turns into a stormy, fiery stream of emotions. The music is literally permeated with bright sunlight.

Almost all compositions abound in the presence of typical Hungarian music techniques, which include a dotted, abrupt rhythm, the predominance of extended seconds, giving rise to a special type of scale called the gypsy scale.

Orchestral versions

  • Author's orchestration of dances No. 1, 3, 10 in 1874. In orchestration No. 10, Brahms changed the key from E-dur to F-dur, raising the work by a semitone. The transcription was made at the request of the publisher.
  • In 1880 Antonin Dvořák was inspired by Brahms and created orchestrations for the fourth notebook, which included Nos. 17-21.

  • In 1881, the German composer and arranger Albert Parlow decided to create arrangements for dances from numbers 11 to 16, as well as numbers five and six.
  • In 1894, the Swedish composer Andreas Hallen completely orchestrated the dances numbered 2, 3, 7.
  • In 1908 Pavel Fyodorovich Yuon, a Russian music teacher and brother of the famous artist Konstantin Yuon, orchestrated the Hungarian dance number 4.
  • In 1955, the neoclassical Austrian composer, pianist and teacher Robert Shollum decided to create unusual orchestral versions of the three dances numbered 4,8 and 9.
  • Also in the 20th century, Hungarian Dances Nos. 8 and 9 were transcribed for orchestra by the talented Austrian composer and musicologist Hans Gahl. In the future, the scientist will write an interesting book “Brahms. Wagner. Verdi. Three Masters – Three Worlds”, which will be published in Russia in 1986.
  • A talented violinist and devoted friend of Johannes Brahms, Josef Joachim created virtuosic arrangements of the entire cycle of works for violin and piano.
  • Recently, Ivan Fischer orchestrated all the Hungarian dances.

The use of music in cinematography

Relief musical works can often be heard both in modern cinema and in the masterpieces of cinema. The most popular dance number 5.

Product Film
Dance #6 "Magnolia" (1999)
Dance #5 American Horror Story (2015)
The Simpsons (2011)
Today I will go home alone (2014)
How I Met Your Mother (2010)
Paper Man (2009)
Advertising for a Genius (2006)
The Great Dictator (1940) film by Charlie Chaplin
Forza Horizon 3 (video game)
Dance No. 8 Bunker (2011)
Dance No.

Learn more