Hungarian music (and how to learn with lyrics)

Hungarian folk music

I have a lot of good memories listening to Hungarian folk music (magyar népzene.) Listening to it makes me feel like I'm chilling in the countryside on a nice summer day, listening to the birds and bees! This may not be for everyone. I found it very relaxing, and on top of that the lyrics are short and simple. With Hungarian folk music, you'll be able to talk about szabad madárok and szél like a pro 😁

Some artists to get you started:

  • Sebestyén Márta
  • Muzsikás együttes
  • Csík zenekar
  • Méta
  • Sugalló
  • Lajkó Félix

Félix Lajkó (a violin virtuoso playing zither here) and singer Magdolna Rúzsa

Hungarian pop music

Here's a bit of everything. Try different things and see what you like:

  • Vad Fruttik (rock)
  • Goulasch Exotica
  • Kistehén
  • Yonderboi
  • Emil.RuleZ

But, honestly, I haven't music I'm crazy about just yet.

These could be considered pop or folk, depending on the songs:

  • Rúzsa Magdolna
  • Palya Bea

OK, I know, I'm putting Magdolna Rúzsa twice, but she's my favorite!

Where to find Hungarian music?

YouTube and Spotify offer a lot of Hungarian music. A search on a specific artist or magyar zene will get you started.

How to learn Hungarian with music, songs & lyrics?

Lyrics can be hard to find and often contain mistakes, while you may feel you're in dire need of a translation. I suggest this approach:

  • Find the song and listen to it a lot – it's fine if you don't understand what it means;
  • Eventually, try to figure out the meaning; look for the lyrics (zeneszöveg) and a translation; some tips:
    • machine translations are not great, but they're better than nothing
    • Wiktionary is your friend
    • ask your teacher or friends or the Learn Hungarian Facebook group; in my experience, speakers of Hungarian are more eager to help than speakers of world languages.
  • Do not use bookmarks! Instead, save the lyrics on your computer (or the cloud or whatever) so you can edit it, fix it, annotate it, and add the translation.
  • Listening to the song aplenty; try to visualize the meaning in your mind's eye. Eventually, things will just "stick" and you will surprise yourself knowing the lyrics, what they mean, and using chunks of it in conversation.