Nationalist Composers and Fiddle Music: A Reflection of Removal from Traditional Culture, with Specific Attention to Copland and Grieg

Rachel D Baiman


The late Romantic period of classical music was characterized by a new enthusiasm for the inclusion of folk music in classical composition. Edvard Grieg and Aaron Copeland are two composers who characterize this period, and both used traditional fiddle tunes from their respective countries in their Nationalist compositions. This essay explores the extent to which folk traditions were honored and exploited in each composer’s music. The author concludes that while Grieg was more successful in authentically portraying the fiddle music of his nation, Copeland’s comparable work became a much more popular Nationalist symbol.


Traditional Music, Fiddle Music, Grieg, Copland

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