The History Of Hungarian Pop Music Before The Regime Change (1989)
The first temporary exhibition of the Hungarian House of Music opens to the public on 22 January, the Day of Hungarian Culture. The exhibition entitled “They wrote the song for us! – The golden age of Hungarian popular music and its social impact from 1957 to the regime change” presents the most prominent artists, bands, emblematic hits and most important pop history events of the era in an interactive exhibition of almost 1000 m2.
The exhibition presents the fan subcultures associated with a politically charged era, the media essential to the spread of popular music, the institutional system of clubs, tours and instruments, which imposed severe political censorship on musicians, and the changing relationship between popular music culture and the performing arts.
The exhibition is a first attempt to capture the contrast between American popular culture in the 1950s, with its James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and rock and roll sound, and the Hungarian reality of the communist dictatorship. It was in this oppressive domestic socio-political environment that the Martiny band recorded Rock Around the Clock in 1957, inevitably marking the beginning of a new era in the history of domestic popular music.
First, through a symbolic (forbidden-restricted-supported) gate, visitors can enter the Songs space, where they can discover the most influential artists and popular songs of the decades before the change of regime (1989). In selecting the hits, the curators have considered the extent to which these songs influenced the masses of their time and the subsequent history of popular music in Hungary.
In addition to the traditional exhibits, the temporary exhibition space features creative, interactive solutions that engage visitors in playful exploration. In the Clubs space, which evokes the cult nightclubs of the era, visitors can experience the different eras of three prominent bands – Omega, Illés and LGT – through a holographic projection.
Entering the Politics space, various installations will show how Hungarian pop musicians were able to assert themselves in Hungary in the 1960s and 1970s. Playing an original pinball machine, for example, visitors can understand the difficulties a Hungarian band had to face to organise a tour abroad, while entering a party office of the time will give even those who were not alive before the regime change a sense of the political atmosphere of the period.
The Technology space presents the world of musical instruments, DIY aesthetics and tours of the era. In the absence of suitable parts and tools, ingenious solutions were created at this time, such as guitars made from toilet boards. In an East German Barkas, a tour bus cut in half and furnished in period style, the audience can listen to fascinating interviews, and then discover the arts and crafts intertwined with music in a period home interior.
The exhibition closes with the Fans’ space, a showcase of original artefacts and props, where the world of music after the regime change is revealed through the iconic K-Bridge of the Sziget Festival.
How to book
- The temporary exhibition at the House of Hungarian Music is open to the public with a valid ticket, with admission in 30-minute time slots.
- The exhibition can be visited in one hour.
- Tickets can be purchased in advance online or on site, subject to availability in the time slot.
- To ensure the best experience, a maximum of 30 people can enter the exhibition at a time.
- Full price ticket: HUF 3,000
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am–6pm
Ticket office and admission: until 4.15pm; on Friday until 5.45pm
- The use of the cloakroom is free of charge and compulsory when visiting exhibitions and events. Luggage, rucksacks of any size, umbrellas and bags must be stored in the cloakroom.
- With a ticket purchased online, the first two hours of parking in the Museum's underground car park are free on the day of the visit. Please validate your parking tickets at the information desk of the Hungarian House of Music.