Students who have never before worked on a piece with variations can learn a lot from playing this work by Bartók. Though not set up like a typical theme and variations piece, the foundational motif is immediately presented and then is clearly repeated and decorated throughout. Midway through, when the time signature changes from 2/4 to 3/4, new material is used. Many of the harmonies, however, remain the same. Teachers ought to encourage students to take a detailed look at the compositional techniques that Bartók employs. Challenging ties and detailed dynamic markings add a bit of difficulty to this otherwise simple work.
Caroline Krause, Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates Fellow