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Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas

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HOPELESSLY MIDWESTERN
STRIP POLKA
THE MAN BEHIND THE ARMOR PLATED DESK


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McGrath of Harlow 09 Jan 03 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,MCP 09 Jan 03 - 06:21 PM
Benjamin 09 Jan 03 - 08:16 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Jan 03 - 09:02 PM
jets 09 Jan 03 - 09:12 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Jan 03 - 09:33 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Jan 03 - 09:43 PM
CarolC 09 Jan 03 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Q 09 Jan 03 - 10:40 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Jan 03 - 11:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 03 - 01:46 PM
CarolC 10 Jan 03 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,MTed 10 Jan 03 - 02:58 PM
CarolC 10 Jan 03 - 03:00 PM
CarolC 10 Jan 03 - 03:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Jan 03 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,MTed 10 Jan 03 - 04:22 PM
CarolC 10 Jan 03 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,MTed 10 Jan 03 - 04:43 PM
CarolC 10 Jan 03 - 04:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 03 - 07:15 PM
greg stephens 10 Jan 03 - 07:42 PM
Rincon Roy 10 Jan 03 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 09:10 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Jan 03 - 09:53 PM
jets 10 Jan 03 - 11:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jan 03 - 07:39 AM
Bob Bolton 11 Jan 03 - 07:59 AM
jets 11 Jan 03 - 08:45 AM
CarolC 11 Jan 03 - 09:29 AM
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Subject: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 03:39 PM

The only Mazurka I ever play is Sonny's Mazurka, which seems to be the only one anyone else knows either. We were playing it on Tuesday in what might be our last session in the Lion in Eastwick, near Harlow - last because. on the one hand there's a new landlord, and we don't know how he feels about sessions, and on the other, with the new Talibanesque Licensing Act on the way, the whole situation for sessions is up in the air anyway.

Anyway I started trying to work out what makes a Mazurka a Mazurka, and I looked it up in the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music which I'd picked up in a jumble sale, and I'm not that much clearer, but a bit.

"It is in triple time with a certain accentuation of the 2nd beat of each measure and an ending of the phrase on that beat; dotted notes are a feature."

So that's what are doing. But what I really like was the next bit:

It is not a fast dance, and a certain aristocratic pride of bearing, sometimes combined with a touch of abandon, helps to differentiate it from a waltz."

"...a certain aristocratic pride of bearing, sometimes combined with a touch of abandon" - that's a lovely way if putting it. I think that's what we should all go for in the way we negotiate this world.

But if any one can point the way to other Mazurka's, that'd be fun. Maybe if we could play a few more it might help us all in these strange times.

And one more thing - the same dictionary entry mentions another musical form I've never hear of before, and it sounds interesting - the Polka Mazurka. Anyone play or dance that one?


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 06:21 PM

Kevin

If you go to JC's tunefinder and search for mazurka you'll find 100 matches.

Henrik Norbeck's site has a dozen listed.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Benjamin
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:16 PM

As far as I know, the Mazurka is Polish in orgin. The most famous (at least in classical music) were written by Chopin. Alexandre Tansman (another Polish composer) has written quite a few as well.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:02 PM

G'day McGrath,

I play (with Backblocks Musicians and various other Bush Music Club groupings) a few Mazurkas ... but they have been colected from/by people of the loosely German immigrations to Australia between 1830s - 1880s (the refugees from Bismarck's conquests of the independent 'German' states). I notice that one of these Mazurkas is essentially the same tune as The Girls of Emmenthaler (without the yodelly third part), so the Swiss get a look in too.

We also have a set of Polka Mazurkas - these all collected from more "Anglo/Celtic" Australians ... and they are only known as (Whoever's) Polka Mazurka - but two of them are a straightforward and an 'embellished' version of the tune I remember from my more virtuous youth as the (Church of England - and other Protestant denominations) 'children's crusade' hymn When He Cometh.

I think that one of these might have been collected from the informant who told how the parishioners would all dawdle until the travelling ministers had packed up and left after the church service ... and then whip back into the church/hall, clear away the pews/chairs and hold a dance. (That's where he learnt to dance the Varsovienna!.

If you are interested, I can send you 'dots' of these two sets.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: jets
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:12 PM

One of the songs we play in the Band Called Raaticoon, is in fact named "Polka Mazurka'. We play it in the key of Em The A part is a Muzurka And the B is a polka, We also play french songs that are part waltz and muzurkas. Please do not ask that I explaint the sutle diffrences ,for I do not read music,I only play as i hear it.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:33 PM

Mazurkas seem to have caught on in Ireland -particularly in the North- far more than they ever did in England. A lot of the older players made a fairly strict distinction between the Polka, the Mazurka, and the "Polka Mazurk", which I think was to do with the stepping of the dance involved and the way it was accompanied (rather than, particularly, what tunes were used) but the tape with the info is still in a box somewhere, I'm afraid. I'm fairly sure that a form of the Varsovianna was used for the Polka Mazurk[a].

We used to play a set of three or four mazurkas (all but one Irish) around sessions in Sheffield, one of which I learned from a Radio3 programme. When Altan recorded the same tune I rather gave up on it, as everybody learned their arrangement and thought I must be playing it in the wrong key...

Mazurkas rather dropped out of sight here for a few years, but are now back again. They seem to be mostly French now, though, that being the fashion. I've only once played a mazurka set for Polish dancing, and it was completely different from the style we're used to in Britain and Ireland. We had to be told what to do quite specifically; and, since it was a Polish event, we had three people telling us how to play it, and they all disagreed with each other about everything. I think they were all the Bride's Uncle...


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:43 PM

G'day jets,

I notice, even in collected tunes in Australia, that European (the Continent, but not the British Isles) dances seem more likely to have more than one rhythm in different parts. We have a number of German dances that combine (say) Scottische and Waltz, so a French dance combining Waltz with Polka is not surprising.

However, the dance the old people performed in Australia as Waltz Mazurka is all in 3/4 time - but with that accentuated step or skip that gives the "polka" name (from ~ "pulka" - Czech or Bohemian diminutive of "pul" = "step" ... so "little step" or "hop").

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:54 PM

I took an Irish whistle class from a Scotsman named Wattie Lees a few years back. One of the pieces he had us learn was a Mazurka. I can't remember the name of it, and I don't think I have the music for it any more. I think I made a tape of him playing it though. I'll have a look for it and if he introduces the piece by name, I'll post it for you.

I play a piece on my accordion called Aarne Tarvaisen masurkka that I got from a Finland search in JC's. It's a very enjoyable piece to play, and I think it definitely fits the description you quoted from your dictionary. I like to play it with a bit of drama mixed with playfulness.

Here's the Finland search: http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/findtune?P=finland&F2=find+%28wide%29&L=100

Here's a search I did on the "masurkka" spelling: http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/findtune?P=masurkka&F2=find+%28wide%29&L=100


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:40 PM

In a list of band music from the Civil War era (USA), one of the tunes listed is "Polka Mazurka." So I go to American Memory, who prepared the list ("Band Music From The Civil War Era, Military band Music) and enter "Polka Mazurka," and find 226 polka mazurkas. Several were around in the 1860-1865 era, including one called "La Violette Polka Mazurka."
Lots of sheet music shown!

Chamber's Encyclopaedia: "A lively Polish round dance for four or eight couples, in 3/4 (occasionally 3/8) time. Frequently there is a strong accent on the second beat of the bar, giving a peculiar rhythmic snap. " According to the same reference, the mazurka came to England in about 1844 (same time as the polka). This gave rise to the polka-mazurka.
(Thread creep- "The Lancers" came in about 1850, "reputedly English," but introduced by a Madame Sacré.)


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:35 PM

G'day Q,

Of course, there's a fair chance that "Madame Sacré" was just as English! Since (Ballroom) Dancing was dictated by the Parisian taste - anyone who wanted to teach it had to (seem to) be French. The name Lancers is certainly English ... but the quadrilles (of which the Lancers is the best-known English example) seem to have a murky past in Spanish cavalry practice ... and are still remembered in their equestrian form (training your cavalry mount to kick your opponent's horse) in the "Spanish Riding School" displays.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:46 PM

Like jets "I do not read music,I only play as I hear it. " So the doors aren't too much use to me. But one way or another I should be able to find a few more tunes. There's something about the tune shape of the mazurka that I find very appealing. "Drama mixed with playfulness", that's nice. A bit of swagger but without arrogance.

It's interesting the way that the same name for a type of tune/dance can get attached to completely different varieties of music, and that goes for polkas especially. Lots of polkas just aren't. Sometimes the term just seems to be used just to indicate a lively tune with a bit of bounce.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:55 PM

McGrath, you can listen to the midis in JC's if you want to learn the tunes they have in there. That's what I do (along with reading the music), since I'm not a very good sight reader.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:21 PM

MCP and Carol C, at JC's site, it says: "Few people other than musicians will find anything interesting here." I missed the note about midis, which is in a statement about ABC's. I did bookmark it some time ago, but never looked into it.
The midis are very good. Thanks for directing my attention to the site again.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:58 PM

Look for Obereks and Kujawiaks as well, since they are faster and slower versions of the Mazurka--With due respect, it takes more to learn the proper feeling and tempo for these wonderful melodies than simply listening to an ABC file--I played in the stage band for a traditional Polish folkdance ensemble, and if they are not played properly, it is impossible to execute the dance figures--and performers become amazingly difficult if the beat isn't where they need it to be--

I believe that both Blue Kujawiak and Ada's Kujawiak, which are my favorites, are listed in JC's Tunefinder, but I haven't been able to access it. I have the sheet music for a couple of old time Obereks, but they may be of marginal value--still, PM me if you are interested--


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:00 PM

Ha! How about that? The Mazurka Wattie had us learn was Sonny's! Only I think it just said "Mazurka" at the top of the page.

Yeah, Q. JC's is a wonderful resource isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:05 PM

I understand what you're saying MTed, about needing to hear it played properly in order to play the way it might have been intended. But in the absence of having that resource, the midis are a great way to find stuff that is fun to play, regardless of whether or not it's done properly, especially if the people are just playing for their own enjoyment at a session or something.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:31 PM

"Sonny" was Sonny Brogan, who died in 1966. It's the mazurka that everybody who knows an Irish mazurka knows, mostly due to the Chieftains recording of it back in the 1960s, I expect.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:22 PM

The question is, when you learn to play something that way, what have you learned? And what are you playing? It certainly isn't tradition music, nor can you really consider it folk music--As my guitar teacher used to say, if you haven't learned it right, you haven't learned anything--


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:31 PM

;-)

All I know, MTed, is that I enjoy it. And in the final analysis, that's all I care about. That's why I play music. Sometimes, when I play when other people are listening, they enjoy it too. Other people may have different reasons for doing things.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:43 PM

Play what pleases you, by all means, but take a warning from one who knows-dancers don't enjoy it when the music isn't right--and they can chase you quite a distance without getting winded. They kick pretty hard, too;-)


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:48 PM

Oh, MTed! I know dancers! Believe me, I think it will probably be decades before I can play the accordion well enough to play for dancers!

;-)

;-)


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 07:15 PM

The truth is instrumental folk music is essentially dance music, and that's what keeps its feet on the ground. That's why there's a natural speed to tunes, and playing too fast and so forth is out of keeping with the music.

That's one of the bad things about the fact that in sessions in pubs in England any dancing is frowned on by the law, and therefore the landlord as well, when a few people might start dancing a set in a corner. Instrumental music that gets too far away from dancing tend to become introspective and messy.

I've been told the best way to learn to understand how an unfamiliar music works is to learn the dances, and I think that's especially true of Eastern and Central European music. But I don't agree with the idea that a tune can't be allowed to emigrate from one tradition to another, and adjust itself along the way on the way. It's the same for times and dances as it is for songs, the original version isn't to be seen for all time and all places as being the one-and-only corrtect version.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 07:42 PM

Point 1: if you know the old song "Gaudeamus Igitur" you know what a mazurka rhythm is.
Point 2: McGrath I didnt know you played tunes, I thought you just sang songs about marmite.
Point 3: I've always called Sonny's Mazurka Brendan's Mazurka but there you go. Depends who you got it from.
Point 4: playing for dancing is a great disciplne.
Point 5: playing the same tunes not for dancing is very liberating.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Rincon Roy
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 08:59 PM

Allen Dodsworth in his 1885 book "Dancing" describes the Polka Mazurka as a polka without the hop. & also says it was introduced in 1850 (introduced in USA?)


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 09:10 PM

Rincon Roy, yes, introduced into the States about 1850, about 5 years after it came to England (in those days, North America was always about 5 years after England and France on new fads). See my post way above- It came to England in 1844.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 09:53 PM

G'day Rincon Roy,

I'm not sure that what Allen Dodsworth describes can be the same Polka Mazurka - since the Polka is in 2/4 and the I know Polka Mazurka is in 3/4 ... and could be described as a Mazurka with a hop, which is what "polka ... = ... pulka" means. As with jets' (presumably French) example, the same name may have been applied to completely different dances in different traditions.

CarolC: In regard to listening to MIDIs - The MIDI plays the tune just as it is notated ... if the notation is accurate, the MIDI plays it accurately (presuming the speed is right). So the MIDI can give you just as good an idea as the musical notation ... but there are details and emphases that can't be conveniently notated ... and sometimes good dance musicians "cheat" a little to make sure the music works just for that dance.

The only way you can really do that well is to know that dance well - and the best way to know a dance well is to dance it well! But it helps ... when you come across some dance tune you have never danced - have never seen danced - know nobody that dances ... to hear what the music says. Sightreaders with perfect pitch may be able to read it straight off the dots, but a MIDI is very convenient for real life humans!

My Music Workshop gets musicians of all levels - and I give them dots ... and, if they wish, MIDIs ... then we play together - and, when possible, to real dancers. We don't get chased away very often!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: jets
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 11:10 PM

I have a tape called The Father Tunes It is by Richard Koski Playing 54 old time Finnish-American and Finnish dance tunes on the 2 row button accordion.
Richard learned these tunes from his father who also played the accordion.Richard fearing that a lot of the old tunes were not being played and that there was a chance that many would be lost,decided to record all that he could in order to assure there survival. This was a low key project and consequently the sound is not the best but I found it to be a great learning tool for those learnig to play the accordion and for learning Finnish dance tunes. As for Richards playing : He never misses a beat or a note.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 07:39 AM

"...a polka without the hop..."



That sounds like decaffinated coffee or alcohol free beer, somehow the key element has been removed.


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 07:59 AM

G'day jets,

Thanks for the clarification ... I thought the reference near you comments on the 2-rhythm Polka Mazurka suggested that it might have been French.

Richard Koski's use of a recording to preserve his father's Finnish dance tunes on their appropriate instrument sounds like a wonderful idea ... and the fact that you learn from it shows that it has worked! Is the material only available on a personally produced tape ... or has it got some distribution in mainstream music publication?

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: jets
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 08:45 AM

The Koski tape is available from him .PM me if interested in details


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Subject: RE: Mazurkas and Polka Mazurkas
From: CarolC
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 09:29 AM

I'm definitely interested, jets! I've never heard Finnish music played properly. I'll send you a PM.


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