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The mazurka (Polish: mazurek, probably named after Poland's Mazury district) is a Polish folk dance in triple time with a lively tempo, containing a heavy accent on the third or second beat. The dance became popular at balls.

Several classical composers have written mazurkas, with the best known being more than fifty composed by Frédéric 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 to the mazurka, and the two dances have a common origin.

The dance was also common as a popular dance in the United States in the late 19th century. In the Southern United States it was sometimes known as a mazuka.

The mazurka has also been used outside Poland. In Russia, Tchaikovsky composed six for solo piano and one for his Swan Lake score; Borodin wrote two in his Petite Suite for piano; Mikhail Glinka also wrote two, Wieniawski wrote two for violin with piano (the popluar "Obertass", op. 19), and Alexander Scriabin used the form as well. In France, Impressionistic composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel both wrote Mazurkas: Debussy's is a stand-alone piece, and Ravel's is part of a suite of pieces known as La Parade, an early work which is not very well known.

The mazurka features in Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

The Mazurka is an important dance in many Russian novels. As well as Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, the dance is prominently featured in Ivan Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons. Arkady reserves the Mazurka for Madame Odintsov with whom he is falling in love.


  • Mazurka by Claude Debussy
    • Claude Debussy's Mazurka
  • Mazurka by Aaron Morgan
    • 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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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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