The polonaise (Polish: polonez, chodzony; Italian: polacca) is a slow dance of Polish origin, in 3/4 time. Its name is French for "Polish." The notation alla polacca on a score indicates that the piece should be played with the rhythm and character of a polonaise (e.g., the rondo in Beethoven's Triple Concerto op. 56 has this instruction).
Poles dance Polonez
Painting by Kornelli Szlegel
The polonaise had a rhythm quite close to that of the Swedish semiquaver or sixteenth-note polska, and the two dances have a common origin.
Frédéric Chopin's polonaises are generally the best known of all polonaises in classical music. Other classical composers who wrote polonaises or pieces in polonaise rhythm included Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Michał Kleofas Ogiński, Franz Schubert, Carl Maria von Weber, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Moritz Moszkowski, Friedrich Baumfelder, Mauro Giuliani, Modest Mussorgsky, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Alexander Scriabin.
Mauro Giuliani's Polonaise Concertante performed by Jeff Prince and Mike Brown
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Polonaise is a widespread dance in carnival parties. There is also a German song, called "Polonäse Blankenese" from Gottlieb Wendehals alias Werner Böhm, which is often played on carnival festivals in Germany about this dance. Polonaise is always a first dance at a studniówka ("hundred-days"), the Polish equivalent of the senior prom, which is approximately 100 days before exams.
John Philip Sousa, who wrote the Presidential Polonaise, which was intended to keep visitors moving briskly through the White House receiving line. Sousa wrote it in 1886 at the request of President Chester A. Arthur who died before it was performed.
Dionisio Aguado's Polonaise
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