Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The mazurka is a Polish folk dance in triple time with a usually moderate tempo, containing a heavy accent on the third or second beat. Several classical composers have written mazurkas, with the best known being the more than 50 composed by Fryderyk Chopin for solo piano. In the 1920s, Karol Szymanowski wrote a set of twenty for piano. The Polish national anthem is a mazurka.
In Swedish folk music, the quaver or eight-note polska has a similar rhythm as the mazurka, and the two dances have a common origin.
The Mazurka has also been used outside of Poland. In Russia, Tchaikovsky composed six, all for solo piano; Borodin wrote two in his Petite Suite for piano; Glinka also wrote two; and Scriabin used the form as well. In France, Impressionistic composers Debussy and Ravel both wrote Mazurkas: Debussy's is a standalone piece, and Ravel's is part of a suite of pieces known as La Parade, an early work which is not very well known.
- Mazurka.ogg of a mazurka from the Library of Congress' California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collection; performed by Aaron Morgan on July 17, 1939 in Columbia, California
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