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Composing a polonaise, anything else to consider?

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So the thought has came to me several times to write a polonaise. I'm not Polish so I barely know anything about that side of the polonaise. But so far I have come across these commonalities across all polonaises(except maybe some of Bach's polonaises and some other early polonaises):

  • Triple meter(typically 3/4 time, though some are written with a 6/8 feel in mind)
  • Moderate to fast tempo(it gets especially fast if you look only at Chopin's polonaises)
  • Common melodic rhythm
  • Relatively simple bass line compared to the complex melody
  • Ternary form(often complex ternary form which is like ternary form sections inside a ternary form piece)

 

But then there are those things that differ. I will be using Chopin as an example since his polonaises are extremely well known, but don't feel as though I'm being too Chopin-centric.

Heroic Polonaise:

This polonaise has more of a 6/8 feel to it. And not just because of the eighth note bass line but also because of beams of eighths going across the bar. Also, I think there are some bars where the eighths are grouped in 3's, implying 6/8, even though it is written in 3/4 time. Also, in the B section, it feels more like a mazurka in terms of the rhythm. This is one of those cases where I would argue that 6/8 is the true time signature and that 6/8 is used as a triple meter(after all if 6 can be divided by both 2 and 3, no reason that 6/8 can't be triple meter just because it is most often duple meter)

Here is a typical polonaise rhythm:
Polonaise-rhythm.png

And here is the rhythm I feel and see in the B section of Chopin's Heroic Polonaise(and I mean the large scale B section, not the small scale B section within the large scale A section):
Mazurka_dance_pattern.png

That is a typical mazurka rhythm. No idea why Chopin would write the B section of a polonaise like a mazurka in terms of the rhythm.

Military Polonaise:

This one has clearer 3/4 feel to it. Also it sticks to the typical polonaise rhythm almost to the dot throughout, no section of it feels like a mazurka.

Polonaise in C minor:

This one is even more rhythmically confusing. Sometimes it sounds like a mazurka rhythm, sometimes it sticks to a typical polonaise rhythm, and other times it just sounds like a waltz rhythm. I guess the rhythmic confusion fits the mood of the polonaise though as does the tempo being on the slow side of Allegro.

So is there anything else I have to consider besides the rhythm, form, complexity of melody vs bass, tempo being moderate to fast, and most importantly triple meter when writing a polonaise?

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On 8/15/2019 at 11:51 PM, caters said:

So is there anything else I have to consider besides the rhythm, form, complexity of melody vs bass, tempo being moderate to fast, and most importantly triple meter when writing a polonaise?

The weather forecast. You wouldn't believe how annoying it is when suddenly it starts raining cats and dogs and your scores get wet and you have to hang each individual paper to try to dry them with a barely-working hairdryer that makes more noise than the launch of the space shuttle.

 

Additionally, you wouldn't know this unless you had extensive experience being a professional serious composer such as myself, but dogs, man. Dogs. They'll eat all the god-damn things they shouldn't, including your scores, notes, paperclips, CDs, small wind ensembles, you name it. If you see a dog, you would do well to remember to immediately scream at the top of your lungs and scramble in the opposite direction, though by that time I'm afraid it's already too late. So, the best thing you can do is carry a small firearm, preferably something in the 9mm range, so you can immediately shoot any dog that crosses your path, lest they become the biggest obstacle in your journey to achieving musical greatness.

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