a brief history of the tarogato - taragot
has a Turkish - Persian origin. The Hungarian word toroksip means Turkish
Pipe. Some believe that is was imported in the Balkans in the 13th century.
It was a double reed instrument with six finger holes and it had a sharp
and strong sound. The Hungarian armies under Racockzy used it to scare
off the enemy. When the resistance movement was defeated the instrument,
because of the supposed magical features, was forbidden and it lost
its place in Hungarian folk music. Can you imagine: that loud and shrieking
voice in the dark?
The taragot player travelled from village to village, to help marriage celebrations and Sunday parties. Most common is the combination of a drum and a wind instrument. The drummer is the leader. After the introduction of sophysticated instruments like the violin, the importance of the taragot diminished.
Gabry, G. (1971). Le tarogato, ancien chalumeau Hongrois. In: S.M., xiii, p. 61
Welsh, H. (1929). The tarogato: its history and details. In: "Leading Note" i/2, 46.
Buchner, A. (1981). "Handboek van de muziekinstrumenten". Praha: Artia
"Tarogato" as a Regional Instrument Zoltan Falvy Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, T. 38, Fasc. 3/4 (1997), pp. 361-370
In the decade of 1890-1900 the Hungarian musicologist Gyula Kaldy developed, in cooperation with the instrument maker V.J. Schunda in Budapest, a new taragot. This instrument was shown to the world at the Paris World Expo of 1900. It was a single reed instrument with an Albert fingering that also was used for the clarinet. The new instrument became soon popular, especially in Hungarian folk music.
Wagner used the taragot for his "Tristan and Isolde", but it soon was found out that the instrument was too loud for a concert hall.
Banat musician Lutsa Iovitsa discovered the instrument in his military
service, during world war I, in Szegedin and Budapest. He imported the
taragot to Romania and he played it in Bucharest. It made him nation
At present it
is hard to find a major Romanian concert folk orchestra without the taragot as a
solo instrument. The medodies have become melting doinas, in stead of
war cries. The Schunda factory closed down but passed the prescription
on to Stowasser. Others claim that Stowasser was employed by Schunda. His factory burned down. And so it looked that the
instrument was to become extinct. Romanian "Timisoara" taragots
lacked sound quality. There are assertions that the Schunda model is copied now by
the German factory Karl Hammerschmidt. However, http://www.musikhaus-hammerschmidt.at does not give any indication. Fox in Canada is a producer.
Alexandru, T. (1956). "Instumentele muzicale ale poporului Roman". Bucuresti: Espla
Jansen, H. (1985). "Ansamblul Argesul". Heino: SONO
Sarosi, B. (1977). "Zigeuner Musik". Budapest: Corvina
Tristan and Isolde
On parle beaucoup en ce moment d'un instrument à vent hongrois appelé « Tárogató », qui, sur l'initiative de M. Hans Richter, a été apporté de Budapest à Bayreuth au mois d'août dernier par le fabricant, M. V. Joseph Schunda. M. Richter a déclaré qu'à Londres, au printemps dernier, dans les exécutions qu'il a dirigées de Tristan et Iseult, il a employé, avec grand succès, le Tárogató pour l'interprétation de la « mélodie gaie ». Le professeur Ign. Henri Hiekisch, du Conservatoire national de Budapest, a fait entendre la « mélodie gaie » sur le Tárogató, et tous les assistants, parmi lesquels se trouvaient plusieurs chefs d'orchestre, ont été d'avis que, de tous les instruments employés jusqu'ici, celui-ci donnait le résultat le plus parfait. Sur la recommandation de M. Richter, l'Opéra de Paris et le théâtre de la Monnaie de Bruxelles se sont fait soumettre ce nouvel instrument. On sait que le thème de la « mélodie gaie » est écrit à trois temps, dans un mouvement très vif. Comme il doit se jouer dans la coulisse, la sonorité du cor anglais est trop faible aussi a-t-il fallu le faire exécuter par un autre instrument et la partie du cor anglais est généralement doublée par une trompette.
Guide Musical n°42 du 16 octobre 1904, p. 76300000 http://perso.orange.fr/alain.cf/musiqueroumaine/tarogato_wagner.htm
There is currently much talk about a Hungarian wind instrument called 'Tarogato', which after an initiative of Mr. Hans Richter, was taken from Budapest to Bayreurh in last August by its manufacturer Mr. V. Joseph Schunda. Mr. Richter made the statement that during last spring, in London, when he conducted Tristan and Isolde it was used with much success for the execution of the "happy melody". Professor Engeneer Hendri Hiekisch from the National Conservatorium in Budapest made us listen to the "happy melody" using the Tarogato and all his assistants, including several orchestra conductors, were of the opinion that from all the instruments that were used until now, this one had the best result. On the recommendation of Mr. Richter the Paris Opera and the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels are going to propese using this new instrument. One knows that the theme of the "happy melody" was written in three-four time in a very vivid movement. Because it has to be played in the wings is the sound of the English Horn to soft and it was impossible to have it performed by another instrument and the part of the English Horn is generally doubled by a trumpet.
(translation H. Jansen, 2007)
note: a very special key system. The wear around the finger holes indicates a possible use of box wood. Probably early 900.
It is clear that there is little relationship between the double reed and single reed tarogatok except for the name. However, there are some remarkable mysterious occurrences. Prince Ferenc Racockzi used the tarogato in his uprising (1703-1711) against the Austrians. The tarogato had a devlish piercing sound that overwhelmed the enemy. The Habsburg emperor forbid the use of the instrument and they were burnt on stakes.
Two hundred years later, the story goes that Luta Iovita, a Romanian maestro from Banat, silenced the soldiers from both sides in the trenches of World War I because of the beautiful mesmorizing sound of the modern taragot. However, some experts claim that after the factory of Stowasser burnt down, including all the taragot stock, the instrument was to become extinct. War, peace and fire. Fortunately Fox, Hammerschmidt, Salenson, Rose Instruments (Toth & Co) and others have started producing tarogatok again.
The Tárogató and Central Eastern Europe
Janosz Pap <http://www.hangoskola.hu/tarogato1999.htm>
A small part of the brilliant article of this author. Please go to his website (although my google chrome warns for mal ware = November 2009 - even in the cyber-era the Tarogato blows and burns!).
It was not accidental that on the first modified tárogató, a conical bore was used. In 1861 an oboist by the name of A. Suck and a musical instrument maker called Scripszky designed a simple oboe with a range of two octaves. (If we were to truly reform the ancient tárogaró, we would end up with the classical oboe or the piccolo heckelphone in their most authentic forms.)
Because playing the clarinet is easier than playing the double-reed tárogató – the former uses a simpler blowing technique and more active breathing and has a large dynamic range and pitch range the clarinet gradually took the place of the tárogató in Roma bands during the 19th century. The same process is occurring in the Balkan countries nowadays, where musicians try to produce the traditional sound ideal of zurna on the clarinet and use circular breathing, for example. The ancient zurla can sometimes be heard in Macedonia and Bosnia, the sournas in Greece, the surla in Romania and the surle in Albania. Mainly it is Roma musicians who play these instruments.
In Hungary, the bands that play contemporary folk music (especially Balkan music) and pop-folk musicians often use Turkish pipes, albeit their simplified versions with conical bore and oboe-like reeds. Their pitch range is broader than the earlier version. An acoustic analysis of the sound of a Turkish pipe shows us an oboelike spectrum (Fig. 6).
From 1894 to 1896 Schunda V. József built a 65- to 70-cm-long, conical instrument made from palisander wood with a clarinet-like mouthpiece, that is, a soprano saxophone with contemporary German oboe keywork (Fig. 7). Schunda called his modified tárogató an "improved" tárogató and designed it for the millennial festivities in Hungary – the thousandth anniversary of Magyar settlement. Musicologists received the instrument critically, but political officials, and in fact all elements of Hungarian cultural life, made a great "hullabaloo" over this instrument. (I should also mention that the name "schundaphone" would have been more accurate for the instrument, since only the bore of this modified tárogató is related to the ancient tárogató.)
At the time of the Hungarian millennium celebrations, it would have been impossible to call a new reed instrument something other than tárogató. In looking back, we only have to recall the 40-year-long musical movement around the ancient tárogató, the political atmosphere of the millennial festivities, and especially late Kuruc romanticism in Hungarian music. The modified tárogató suited the requirements of Kuruc romanticism perfectly. Schunda tried out different oboe-like instruments in the course of developing his modified instrument, one of which is now in Brussels in the Museum of Musical Instruments (Gábry 1971:64). Only orchestral oboists and some Roma musicians could play this type of tárogató. The clarinet was the most popular woodwind instrument at the end of the last century in Hungary. We can thus understand the application of the clarinet mouthpiece on the modified instrument. Moreover, it can be supposed that Schunda and János Stowasser wanted to build a German-style wooden saxophone for the musicians of central Europe. (Differences in the timbres of the ancient tárogató and the modified tárogató can be seen in Fig. 6.)
The "schundaphone" tárogató gained success quickly thanks to its perfect acoustic features (for example, good responsiveness), to its name and its publicity. The tárogató faculty was introduced at the Nemzeti Zenede (National School of Music). We have little information about the instrument's distribution or how many were sold by its makers. However, it can be pointed out that many types under different maker names were produced. The best sign of popularity of an instrument is whether they were copied. Among copies, the model #19865 Stowasser tárogató in Bb was the most popular (Fig. 8).
Schunda tárogató (patent from 1897)
There were also simpler instruments with fewer keys, for example, the Wágner tárogatós (produced by A. K. Wágner). Tárogató tutors appeared as well.
Above all, this new instrument was a symbol of Hungarian aristocracy, the favorite woodwind of Governor Miklós Horthy. An old Hungarian tradition of nobility returned: a "real" Hungarian gentleman celebrated with tárogató music. Perhaps this was the main reason that Bartók and Kodály did not compose for this instrument; also, Kodály found its timbre "chocolate-like".
The company Stowasser had offices in Graslitz (today Krašlice), Budapest, Temesvár (today Timişoara), and in Torino. The modified tárogató was adopted as the taragot or torogoată in the Banat area of Romania and Serbia during the early 20th century and spread to other parts of the region. These instruments were produced in Temesvár. Taragot folk music is still very popular in Romania, particularly in Transylvania. The musicians play both tárogatós, though fewer use the ancient surlas and more play on the modified instruments. Today Stowasser copies are made mainly in Romania. Dimitru Farkaš is the most famous taragot musician in the world, having made many recordings. His virtuoso performances are a model for Romanian tárogató players.
This current phenomenon is interesting because after World War II until the 1980s, the modified tárogató had been practically silenced by those governing official musical life in Hungary. It was proclaimed by communist regimes to be a nationalistic musical instrument for irredentists. This was obviously not the fault of the tárogató but rather that of politicians from World War I until now. Under Rákosi's regime it was forbidden to play it publicly, radio recordings disappeared, the instrument making companies were nationalized, etc. Thus, it was not accidental that the instrument's rebellious character survived in the folk music of Hungary.
Michele Gingras (professor of clarinet at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio) wrote an excellent paper about the taragot. "The Tarogato: A forgotten instrument?" "The Clarinet" (International Clarinet Association), December 1999, pp. 45.