Hungarian artist creates a special edition design for Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos

Budapest-based designer Nora Kaszanyi created a special edition 3D monograph for Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos.


The artist made the design as her final project for her BA at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. Her intention was to create a music booklet that caught the eye and would incorporate the motifs of the music and sounds of Mikrokosmos into its design. The choice of white and gray on black line graphics evokes the movement of sound waves, letters and words, and reveals influences from Peter Saville’s design for Joy Division’s album Unknown Pleasures (1979).


Mikrokosmos is a six-volume collection of progressive piano pieces written by Bartók between 1929 and 1939. At the time of publishing, it quickly became a model for changing modes in composition and an aid for musicians looking to develop improvisational skills. After his arrival to the United States, Bartók’s influence continued to spread out into the jazz world, not least of all thanks to his collaboration with clarinetist Benny Goodman, who commissioned his work “Contrasts” that year. He has often been quoted as an early perpetrator of the avant-garde and free jazz styles and influenced the music of many jazz greats, including pianists Keith Jarrett and Cecil Taylor.


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