Bartók began his career as a pianist, initiated by early studies withhis mother. He subsequently became one of the major piano tal-ents during the first half of the 20th century, and for many years sustained his professional activities through his position on the piano faculty of the Academy of Music in Budapest. He was also an ardent ethnomusicologist, and devoted a major portion of his energies to the preservation of Hungarian folk music. At a time when recording equipment of any kind was in its early stages of development, he traveled through the countryside with portable equipment, recording the music of the country folk as they sang it among themselves. The transcription of this material into written form occupied him intermittently for most of his professional life and produced some of the most important scholarly works of their kind. Even if Bartók had not become an extraordinarily fecund composer, his position in the history of music would be assured through his achievements as performer and scholar.