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Title: Polonaise  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Polska (dance), Music of Poland, Polish folk dances, Dance music, Frédéric Chopin
Collection: Dance Forms in Classical Music, Polish Dances, Polish Styles of Music, Triple Time Dances
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Typical rhythm of a Polonaise
Polonaise rhythm[1]

The polonaise (Polish: polonez) is a dance of Polish origin,[2] in 3/4 time. Its name is French for "Polish."

The polonaise had a rhythm quite close to that of the Swedish semiquaver or sixteenth-note polska, and the two dances have a common origin.

Polonaise is a widespread dance in carnival parties. Polonaise is always a first dance at a studniówka ("hundred-days"), the Polish equivalent of the senior prom that occurs approximately 100 days before exams.


  • Influence of Polonaise in music 1
  • National dance 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Influence of Polonaise in music

The notation alla polacca (Italian: polacca means "polonaise") on a musical score indicates that the piece should be played with the rhythm and character of a polonaise (e.g., the rondo in Beethoven's Triple Concerto op. 56 and the finale of Chopin's Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" have this). In his book Classic Music: Expression, Form, and Style Leonard G. Ratner cites Serenade_for_Violin,_Viola_and_Cello_(Beethoven) Mvt. IV, "Allegretto alla Polacca" as a representative example of the polonaise dance topic (Ratner 1980, pp. 12-13).

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Alexander Scriabin.

Another more recent prolific polonaise composer was the American Edward Alexander MacDowell.

John Philip Sousa wrote the Presidential Polonaise, intended to keep visitors moving briskly through the White House receiving line. Sousa wrote it in 1886 at the request of President Chester A. Arthur who died before it was performed.[3]

National dance

Polonaise is a Polish dance and is one of the five historic national dances of Poland.[4] The others are the Mazurka (Mazur), Kujawiak, Krakowiak and Oberek, last three being old folk dances.[5] Polonaise originated as a peasant dance known under various names – chodzony ("pacer"), chmielowy ("hops"), pieszy ("walker") or wielki ("great"), recorded as early as the 15th century. In later centuries it gained popularity among the nobility and townspeople.[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ Blatter, Alfred (2007). Revisiting music theory: a guide to the practice, p.28. ISBN 0-415-97440-2.
  2. ^ Don Michael Randel. The Harvard Dictionary of Music. Harvard University Press. 2003. p. 668.
  3. ^ Sousa: Marching Along, p.85 Integrity Press, 1994
  4. ^ Polish Folk Music and Chopin's Muzurkas
  6. ^ Roderyk Lange. Tradycyjny taniec ludowy w Polsce i jego przeobrażenia w czasie i przestrzeni. PUNO. 1978. p. 40.
  7. ^ Selma Jeanne Cohen. International encyclopedia of dance: a project of Dance Perspectives Foundation, Inc. Oxford University Press. 1998. p. 223.
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