Encyclopedia > Polonaise

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The polonaise is a rather slow dance of Polish origin, in 3/4 beat. Its origin is a fore-dance in 4/4 beat to a faster after-dance, which became the mazurka.

Before Frédéric Chopin, the polonaises had a rythm quite close to that of the Swedish semiquaver or sixteenth-note polska, and the two dances have a common origin. From Chopin and onward, the polonaise developed a very solemn style, and has in that version become very popular in the classical music of several countries.

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