Cztery tańce polskie [four Polish dances]

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While Chopin’s lifetime predates the rise of ethnomusicology  (he wasn’t a Cecil Sharp or Béla Bartók) there’s certainly no denying the profound influence that the music, and particularly the dance music, of his native Poland had on his work. Many dances – polonaises, mazurkas − are explicitly acknowledged in titles; but even elsewhere (the two piano concertos were going to listen to this week, for instance) it’s possible to find frequent traces of dance forms.

So, here, to get you au fait with some of the more popular Polish dances, is a selection of videos starting with the stately …

Polonaise

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Mazurka

[I had difficulty finding examples of mazurkas; this video, interesting for its comparisons of Chopin with folk music, unfortunately doesn’t allow us to see a great deal dancing: let me know if you can find anything better.]

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…and these two dances will be useful for the finales of the piano concertos.

Krakowiak

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Kujawiak

Course materials:

Chopin Preludes Op.28

More on modes

plus those (useful!) hardy perennials:

Cycle of 5ths

Keyboard graphic 2 octaves

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