his music is modern but tends to be distinctly different from the russians and the composers of the secon viennese school. even though he employed atonality, he used tuneful melodies as well as folk melodies in his rhythms. (folk music from his home, hungary) he was born there, and attended the academy of music in budapest. he studied composition and piano. he gained a reputation as a concert pianist as well as composer of modernist music. His music had already been banned. Bartok was very interested in musical research, specifically Eastern Europe folk music. He traveled around Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and North Africa using the new recording machine of Thomas Edison. His ear became saturated with the driving rhythms and odd-numbered meters of peasant dances, as well as the unusual scales that the folk melodies were based. He incorporated these things into his compositions.
He employs pentatonic scales, switches meter back and forth between an even 2/4 and an odd 5/8, used a Hungarian nationalist song and borrows from Shostakovich. After arriving in New York in 1940, Bartok tried to build a career in the states but had little success. He died of Leukemia in New York's West Side Hospital.