The ethnological accuracy of the scenario and costumes (based on peasant originals) is also reflected in the music, though Stravinsky was keen to disavow this in later years. He confided in one biographer that the opening bassoon solo was taken from an anthology of Lithuanian folk songs, and did so largely to give the impression, later clearly stated, that this was the only instance in The Rite! As we shall see, the use of folk melodies was extensive. With few exceptions, the ones that have been discovered so far belong to the type known to ethnographers as obryadnïye pesni or ceremonial songs, specifically to the category of kalendarnïye pesni, seasonal or calendar songs. That is, ones associated with the very festivals on which Roerich based the scenario. These songs are some of the oldest and come down, largely intact, from pagan times.
Roerich recounts that when he and Stravinsky were meeting at Talashkino in the summer of 1911, another guest was the singer and gusli player Sergey Kolosov (1855 - after 1915) who was then collecting folk material. He sang for the collaborators and Stravinsky took down a number of melodies. It is unlikely, therefore, that it will ever be possible to identify all of the folk melodies in The Rite. There are about a dozen, however, that are easily identified. It is astonishing that no-one even bothered to look up any sources for folk melodies in The Rite until Lawrence Morton, in 1979, began examining the mammoth anthology of Lithuanian melodies (over 1700) that Stravinsky had used. Morton found not only the source of the opening bassoon solo, but three additional melodies he also used. Why the long delay? Prior to this, all the approaches had been strictly abstract and analytical, typified by Pierre Boulez' in the early 1950s, in which not a single mention is made of the scenic or choreographic design.
Here are all the melodies taken from the Lithuanian anthology (collected by Anton Juszkiewicz) used in The Rite:
And here is how they appear in the work (in the same order):
As you can see, the transformations are largely rhythmic.
That should give you enough to chew on for today. Let's listen to a concert performance, with score, by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yoel Levi: