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Author Topic: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas  (Read 24523 times)

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Theo

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2012, 02:28:26 PM »

And in some undefinable way  I fell the mazurka to be a much more earthy sensual, peasantish dance than the waltz, but that is based on nothing more than my personal response to the music, the movement and my partner.
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Lester

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2012, 03:53:19 PM »

A couple of tunes I have always had as mazurkas but who knows  ;)

When Cloe and Ville de Quebec
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Theo

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2012, 04:23:04 PM »

Yes Lester, I agree on those two, but when you use a fairly regular om pah pah bass like they come out more like waltzes.   I'm not sure what the bass line of a mazurka should be though, but I recognise it when I hear it which I know is not much help. :(
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Ollie

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2012, 12:52:09 AM »

Agree about misleading titles, the first example that comes to mind would be Michael Turners Waltz,  which was probably written before the waltz was a dance.  It works more naturally as a mazurka IMHO.

It was written by Mozart, no. 2 in a set of 6 German dances K.536. Each of the dances is a "minuet and trio" - a common pairing of 3/4 tunes in much classical and late baroque music, and the "trio" part of #2 is what's now called Michael Turner's Waltz.

The "trio" in such a pair is often designed to represent a rustic dance (often there are drones implying bagpipes or hurdy gurdies) contrasting, I suppose, with the more aristocratic minuet that precedes it. Wikipedia on Watzes says "The peasants of Bavaria, Tyrol, and Styria began dancing a dance called Walzer, a dance for couples, around 1750". So it's possible that in Mozart's time you could have described those trios as waltzes and people would have understood what you meant: "the waltz became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s" (Wikipedia again) and K536 was written in 1788.



Very interesting to read. The Edexcel A2 Music composition brief that I'm following for my coursework is to compose a Minuet and Trio, and each of the sections in mine are based on Scandinavian polskas (the A section being a Slangpolska, and the B being a whatever the slower type is called).
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forrest

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2012, 01:43:13 AM »

................................... The Edexcel A2 Music composition brief that I'm following for my coursework is to compose a Minuet and Trio, and each of the sections in mine are based on Scandinavian polskas (the A section being a Slangpolska, and the B being a whatever the slower type is called).

 Ollie.....Any chance of you perhaps posting a performance??  ;)
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #45 on: January 10, 2012, 09:14:30 AM »

Agree about misleading titles, the first example that comes to mind would be Michael Turners Waltz,  which was probably written before the waltz was a dance.  It works more naturally as a mazurka IMHO.

It was written by Mozart, no. 2 in a set of 6 German dances K.536. Each of the dances is a "minuet and trio" - a common pairing of 3/4 tunes in much classical and late baroque music, and the "trio" part of #2 is what's now called Michael Turner's Waltz.

The "trio" in such a pair is often designed to represent a rustic dance (often there are drones implying bagpipes or hurdy gurdies) contrasting, I suppose, with the more aristocratic minuet that precedes it. Wikipedia on Watzes says "The peasants of Bavaria, Tyrol, and Styria began dancing a dance called Walzer, a dance for couples, around 1750". So it's possible that in Mozart's time you could have described those trios as waltzes and people would have understood what you meant: "the waltz became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s" (Wikipedia again) and K536 was written in 1788.

Having said that, I agree that Michael Turner's does have much of the mazurka about it.

The Mozart tune is a Landler (I don't think it should have an umlaut over the 'a') - a German/Austrian country dance in 3/4 time, and a form often borrowed by the classical composers, especially Mozart, Beethoven and Mahler. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ländler
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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #46 on: January 10, 2012, 09:20:47 AM »

Yes Lester, I agree on those two, but when you use a fairly regular om pah pah bass like they come out more like waltzes.   I'm not sure what the bass line of a mazurka should be though, but I recognise it when I hear it which I know is not much help. :(
A mazurka-dancing friend told me that the bass feel to a mazurka should have a soft 'pushy' emphasis on the first two beats - the first beat slightly stronger than the second. The third beat should have almost no emphasis at all, and can even be silent.
The overall effect should be a slowish lup-dup..., lup-dup..., etc. almost like a heart-beat, which is perhaps why a mazurka can be so sensual. :-*
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Anahata

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #47 on: January 10, 2012, 10:32:11 AM »

A mazurka-dancing friend told me that the bass feel to a mazurka should have a soft 'pushy' emphasis on the first two beats - the first beat slightly stronger than the second. The third beat should have almost no emphasis at all, and can even be silent.
The overall effect should be a slowish lup-dup..., lup-dup..., etc. almost like a heart-beat, which is perhaps why a mazurka can be so sensual. :-*

That works for me.
Certainly the stronger second beat is the biggest difference between a mazurka and a waltz : in a waltz the first beat is the one that matters.
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Theo

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #48 on: January 10, 2012, 12:09:18 PM »

That makes sense to my feet!
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waltzman

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #49 on: January 10, 2012, 12:30:31 PM »

Yes Lester, I agree on those two, but when you use a fairly regular om pah pah bass like they come out more like waltzes.   I'm not sure what the bass line of a mazurka should be though, but I recognise it when I hear it which I know is not much help. :(
A mazurka-dancing friend told me that the bass feel to a mazurka should have a soft 'pushy' emphasis on the first two beats - the first beat slightly stronger than the second. The third beat should have almost no emphasis at all, and can even be silent.
The overall effect should be a slowish lup-dup..., lup-dup..., etc. almost like a heart-beat, which is perhaps why a mazurka can be so sensual. :-*


I agree with Anahata, the second beat should have the subtle emphasis, not the first.  The first beat is more strongly emphasized in the waltz.
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Anahata

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2012, 01:17:15 PM »

I 'm not sure the second beat should necessarily be stronger than the first. What I meant was the second beat in a mazurka is stronger than the second beat in a waltz.

I don't know how to dance a mazurka, but I think there's often a change of direction on the second beat requiring a heavier push on the foot, hence a lean on that beat in the music.
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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2012, 01:32:38 PM »

There is (in the french style) a 'pulsing' on one foot on the second and third beats of the mazurka step.  In some styles of mazurka you actually hop off the ground on the third beat.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2012, 01:56:38 PM »

I'm not sure you can just look at the emphasis in one bar for a mazurka.  Isn't the step basically a '1-2-3, Maz-ur-ka' rhythm, so it would be different in successive bars?  You could perhaps almost look at it as a special kind of 6/4 rather than 3/4 rhythm, maybe?
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Anahata

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2012, 02:21:45 PM »

I'm not sure you can just look at the emphasis in one bar for a mazurka.  Isn't the step basically a '1-2-3, Maz-ur-ka' rhythm, so it would be different in successive bars?  You could perhaps almost look at it as a special kind of 6/4 rather than 3/4 rhythm, maybe?

You could, but there's nothing wrong with describing a dance step sequence as n bars long, where n > 1.
So a schottiche is a 4-bar sequence, and a good tune for it has a particular rhythmic template for bars 1 and 2, and a different one for bars 3 & 4. Or a minuet is something like two x 2 bar phrases followed by a 4 bar phrase...

So I you're saying a mazurka is a two bar sequence. (is it really that simple?)
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waltzman

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2012, 02:27:40 PM »

No.  The basic mazurka, from a footwork standpoint, is four measures. You alternate a mazurka step with a waltz step which will put you back on your 'first foot' after four measures.  The rhythm, however, stays the same, measure to measure.
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boxcall

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2012, 04:05:15 PM »

Here's my attempt at a mazurka the only one I know (kinda).
Shoe the donkey in D with mistakes, the show must go on !!
Michael

http://soundcloud.com/boxcall/shoe-the-donkey
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #56 on: January 10, 2012, 05:04:52 PM »

Quote
So I you're saying a mazurka is a two bar sequence. (is it really that simple?)
Quote
You alternate a mazurka step with a waltz step which will put you back on your 'first foot' after four measures.

I think the answer's yes to both - the second two bars are a sort of mirror image of the first two, and hence presumably have the same rhythm, I would have thought.  (But have I got the '1-2-3, ma-zur-ka' the right way round, or does the mazurka step come first?  I can't remember.) 
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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #57 on: January 10, 2012, 06:04:44 PM »

The most basic sequence (there are lots of variations) is to start with a mazurka step with the leader's left foot followed by a waltz step and then a mazurka step starting with the right foot followed by a waltz step.  So one full cycle takes four measures.  There is no change in the lilting mazurka rhythm of the tune from measure to measure to accommodate the waltz steps, if that is what you are asking.  You can, in fact, waltz to any mazurka and it works just fine.  The lilting rhythm of the mazurka just makes the mazurka steps feel better.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #58 on: January 11, 2012, 09:18:21 AM »

You're right Waltzman, that's certainly the same basic step that I was thinking of, and I have got the mnemonic wrong.  I think it should have been 'Maz-ur-ka, Waltz-2-3, Maz-ur-ka, Waltz-2-3', ie for the gent:  'LRR, LRL, RLL, RLR', shouldn't it?

I'm still hearing an emphasis on beats 1 and 7, but this may simply be because I'm not an experienced enough dancer, and I'm just feeling an emphasis for the bits where you need to remember to get the weight transfer right.  However, if you take a tune such as Sonny's Mazurka, the fourth bar does seem to me to have a reduced emphasis on beat 10, I notice.  (Beat 4 could be the same, but it's not so noticeable.)

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Re: Theme of the Month for January 2012: Mazurkas
« Reply #59 on: January 11, 2012, 09:35:52 AM »

And Steve, re your 'lup-dup ...' for the mazurka step, yes, I can see how this comes about, because the dancer doesn't have time to do a big hop for the third beat, so it's likely to have less of an emphasis.  Would you say this is true of the waltzy bars 2 and 4?  I can see that it may not need to be.

I'm becoming intrigued enough to look at some mazurka tunes to see to what extent they include the dance feel we've just talked about.  Any suggestions for some really good ones from experienced euro-dancers?
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