Béla Bartók (1888 - 1945) showed from the beginning of his career an interest in popular music. He began studying music at the age of five and eventually focused on composition and piano. He collected a lot of popular songs, especially during his studies in Hungary, but also music from Romania and Slovakia. This had a lot of influence on his style. In his compositions, Bartók uses many Hungarian popular themes and rhythms, and even his own original works always refer to the same rhythmic and melodic folk character. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Bartók detached himself from romanticism and began to delineate his style on harmonic procedures based on diminished and augmented intervals, on bitonality, and on marked percussiveness, characteristics that are at the core of popular music.
The Romanian Dances are a collection of seven folk dances, originally composed for piano (1915, the first six) and then transcribed for a small symphonic orchestra (1917). Of purely modal language, like almost all Bartók's music, each dance comes from a different area of Romania (Stick Dance, Sash Dance, In One Spot, Horn Dance, Romanian Polka, Fast Dance of Belényes, and Fast Dance of Nyàgra).