Bartok is a leading Hungarian composer of the 20th century. He collected various folk themes from the Magyar region, using them as a basis for his own unique method of composition. His works reflect the troubling and unstable time of the early-mid 20th century. Bartok himself seemed to think the most important thing in folk songs was the melody, and that the accompaniment should be a "jeweled pedestal".This arrangement was essentially arranged for a clarinet octet [5 Bb clar. (one Eb clar. doubled), alto clar., bass clar., contra-alto clar.]. As an option, alternate parts for alto clarinet are provided so that it can be played on the basset horn or Bb clarinet, and the contra-alto clarinet can be played on the contrabass clarinet or contrabass.