Chopin and Mazurka


Among Chopin's mazurkas, the most touching and creative ones are mainly composed in slow tempo and minor tonality.

Musicology suggests 'Polish Folk Dance' motifs, which is the traditional approach we all know for these composition types. Although the general opinion emphasizes that the works emerged with ballrooms or folkloric dances, the slow-paced emotional selection that constitutes the aforementioned subset makes this argument contradictory.

This subset is danced in Chopin's Kujawy region and named after it. kujawiak This can be explained by the style he brought to his dance. About all the dances associated with the Mazurka, the Harvard Music Dictionary writes:

Like those composed by Chopin, Mazurkas differ considerably in tempo and emotional expression from each other. This difference is a reflection of the extensive folk dances grouped under the name Mazovia. Mazurka or Mazurka is full of energy and power, obertas or oberek On the other hand, it has a simple expression and a more lively tempo. kujawiakDespite its slow tempo compared to certain parts, it is more melancholic.

MazurkaHarvard DictionarySamsonZielinskiPolinski
Kiss. 6 / 4kujawiakoberekkujawiak at oberek tempo-
Kiss. 7 / 3--kujawiak-
Kiss. 17 / 4-kujawiak--
Kiss. 24 / 1--kujawiak-
Kiss. 24 / 4kujawiak---
Kiss. 30 / 4kujawiak-kujawiak-
Kiss. 33 / 1 --kujawiak-
Kiss. 33 / 2-oberekoberekkujawiak-excuse
Kiss. 33 / 3---mazur-kujawiak
Kiss. 33 / 4---oberek-kujawiak-excuse
Kiss. 41 / 1kujawiak---
Kiss. 56 / 2oberek---

One of the oldest Polish dances Polonez'Dr. Polski dance known as Polonaise identified by name. According to the custom, the balls organized by the noble circles started with a polonaise, and the host would open with the most noble woman who attended the ball.

Another favorite of noble circles excused and King III. It was adopted in 1596 when the capital was moved to Warsaw during the reign of Sigismund. The figures and steps displayed in Mazur revealed the military experience of the nobles. For example, hitting the heels on the ground was interpreted as a mark of skill in reining and riding the prancing horse.

Teofil Kwiatkowski – Chopin Playing at Hôtel Lambert

Mazurka It was also an indispensable entertainment for the villagers. The dancers, who formed a big circle with the first note heard, would then scatter in pairs in different directions, the big circle would scatter and form different small circles.

Although the dance figures were not fixed, the ensemble leader would direct the whole by introducing new figures.

kujawiak The dance began with the Polonaise and consisted of three parts. The leader would be a married peasant. Small excuse for the part where the waltzing couples start to turn to their left side with the 'kseb' command. oberek it was called.

Krakowiak The dance was a form of dance that belonged to the inhabitants of the Cracow region and the nobility.

Chopin's Opus 13 composition titled 'Fantasy on Polish Themes'
The accent on the second beat of each meter, Kujawiak

Most of the Chopin mazurkas are seen as miniatures of the Polish countryside. According to Liszt, this is the type of music that Chopin composed the most. obrazki – picture – he said.

Considered rhythmically, Chopin's mazurkas are works kneaded with mazur, kujawiak, oberek and waltz-like patterns. For example, Op. 7/2; Composed as a trio kujawiak in A major, albeit an excuse. Kiss. Composed in 7/4 mazurka ABACA form; A is an oberek, B and C are excused.

In general, if the composer used the mazur rhythm in the first part, the second part was composed with the oberek and the last part with the kujawiak rhythm.

As a composer, Chopin conveyed the spirit and hopes of Poland. As a patriot, Grieg inspired Tchaikowsky and Rachmaninoff. Chopin's realistic musical forms colored by the Polish spirit are proof that national music can also be beautiful.


BAKST, JAMES. “POLISH NATIONAL INFLUENCES IN CHOPIN'S MUSIC.” The Polish Review, vol. 7, no. 4, 1962, p. 55–68.

GOLDBERG, HALINA. “Nationalizing the kujawiak and Constructions of Nostalgia in Chopin's Mazurkas.” 19th-Century Music, vol. 39, no. 3, 2016, p. 223–247.

Michael Klein. “Chopin Dreams: The Mazurka in C# Minor, Op. 30, no. 4.” 19th-Century Music, vol. 35, no. 3, 2012, p. 238–260.


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