good mazurkas

good mazurkas

Lately I’ve been playing these quite a lot and was wondering if anyone could recommend any good ones, other than Micheals which is one of my favourites at the moment

Re: good mazurkas

Have you searched the tuad tunes section at this site? Choose ‘Mazurka’ in the tune type field, leaving the other fields blank, and you’ll get quite a few returns.

Also, Henrik Norbeck’s abc collection (see Links page) has a few Mazurkas.

Re: good mazurkas

i like the mazurka du samitan (although i cant spell it).

also, what actually is a mazurka?

Re: good mazurkas

Mazourka:A Polish dance, or the music which accompanies it, usually in 3-4 or 3-8 measure, with a strong accent on the second beat. These were imported into Ireland by returning mercenaries, or so the story goes!

Re: good mazurkas

…presumably originating in the Mazur region of Poland.

Re: good mazurkas

Great tunes to introduce now and again in a session between the jigs and the reels! Because they’re a bit more up-tempo than waltzes mazurkas seem more suitable for the session situation. While they may have originally come from Eastern Europe they have bcome accepted into the tradition by adaption (like polkas) and would now be very much associated with Donegal music - examples of this are the Vincent Campbell selections and Johnny Doherty’s Mazurka.

Re: good mazurkas

The following is an opinion, not a value judgement: there is no such thing as a good mazurka, sonny!

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Re: good mazurkas

Two I play together are, The Donegal mazurka and The Verse (or Reverse) of Vienna.

I recently watched a dance demo of mazurka type dancing. The dancers were in waltz hold, but did a sideways step together and then a sideways ‘shuffle’. The tunes were played slowly and the dances quite ‘elegant’!
Any help?

Sue

Re: good mazurkas

Meant to say, I heard somewhere that there are only 6 original mazurkas in the Irish tradition.

Don’t know how true that is, but the two I mentioned were two of them.

Sue

Re: good mazurkas

I used dance the Mazurka occasionally at barn dances.Its more or less two balances onto one foot,pause, two balances and a pause again, one two three four five and a hop to change feet then repeat onto the other foot. When I went to dance in Belgium the music was played very fast and smoothly and the steps were very low on the ground.

Yup, they both do, and while I was planning something else, there’s another mazurka I’ll add to the list…

Re: good mazurkas

UglyBoyJoe,

Mazurka originates from a lively, dynamic Polish dance called "Mazur". It is remotely related to the region of Mazuria, but Mazur itself is one of the national dances, mostly connected with the upper classes. It got highly popular in the XIX century aristocratic manors around Europe - it was a good dance for pedigree guys to show off in front of pedigree lassies. The name ‘mazurka’ (means ‘little Mazur’) was actually devised by a guy called Frederic Chopin (a composer, but NOT related to Irish Trad in any way), who would compose fantasias based on Mazur, but with varied tempo, thus not suitable for dancing.

I am not sure, but I suppose the dance must have sifted to the lower strata of the society with a confused name.

Frederic Chopin - in the footnotes, not a ‘header’:

Just because he did his fantasias on the subject doesn’t mean it originated with him, or even the Poles, despite the name. Amongst all the tales and mythology folks like to banter about there is some believe that the steps and basic moves originated in the Carpathians, which were once part of the greater Empire. Freddy didn’t invent the mazurka, he only capitalized on it…

Or to put it another way, screwed around with it. If anything, the ‘classicization’ of the form is why so many can’t actually play the things as dance music - especially classical musicians who tend to sacrafice the life of the form for their own self gratifying twiddles…

I prefer to think that much of this came from the ‘lower strata’, but does it really matter which came first… I have danced it formally, as it was danced in the big military halls amongst the upper crust of the Poles, and I’ve also danced it down and earthy - in a number of styles: Carpathian, Finnish, Swedish, Polish, French, Dutch, North American and IRISH… I prefer that latter kick than the pomposity of the upper crust pretentions. But, it was fun for the moment to be dressed up in costume and prancin’ about, so I do at least have some understanding of those that like that way of pretending…

Re: good mazurkas

Must agree about the dance part. The tempo is similar to Polish mazur (3/4, accent on the last one), but the dance is quite different. You say that the name did exist before FC? Hm… Now you gave me something to think about. Must check my sources. I would not like to occur to be polonocentric.

Re: good mazurkas

Harper_Lad gave very comprehensive details on the dance for Shoe the Donkey in an earlier thread at https://thesession.org/tunes/2320 which is the only mazurka I’ve ever seen danced.

Pol-centric away - - -

I’ve been there on several counts, and I love what comes out of the hills there, and we have much to credit the ‘Empire’ for as far as spreading the joys of dance across the globe. Don’t ever undervalue that, what rich treasures, and I don’t just mean the music and dance, so much to feel pride about. My wife is nuts about your man Freddy…even if so many tend to lose the rhythmic heart of the mazurka in their interpretations…

BE POL-CENTRIC - it was one of the centres of the dancing universe, thank God…

Mazurka / Varsovienne in Eire:

"Shoe the Donkey", in the glory of all the names that the Varsovienne has come to be known as, is still danced in some ceilis in Eire, in several versions, basically the same except for differences demanded by the chosen hold. In parts of Clare we danced it with a cross-back hold and you never let go, for some elsewhere it was what is called ‘The Varsovienne Hold’ - the gents hand stretching over the woman’s shoulders to take her right hand, left hands held in front.

Between the end of the 19th century and the World War II there were still mazurkas being danced, and the memory survived beyond that, and several versions, though the two are really very close in steps and styling. There were also ‘Sets of Quadrilles’ that were danced to these tune forms, examples of the names but not the music or footwork surviving are, for example, ‘The Set of Mazurks’ and ‘The Mazurka Set’…

Admitting my biases and influences:

My main influences are past Polish and Czech teachers, but the sweep of the ‘mazurka’ and that name into society, and its introduction in Paris and elsewhere seems to be by accounts and by when it appears in dance manuals around the world - the mid 1900s… One of my old ‘masters’ was supposed to produce a book on the subject, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. I have much to learn, so I remain open on this debate, though not particularly fond of myths, jingoistic or otherwise - though it was my Czech dancing master who used to effuse most spiritually on claiming the ‘Mazurka’ for his homeland and those lovely mountains…

Re: good mazurkas

The Shoe the Donkey i know is in 2/4. Is there a 3/4 version as in ‘mazurka’?

Sue

2/4 Shoe the Donkey?!

Whoa! - If you’ve got a 2/4 ‘Shoe the Donkey’ Suzie-Lee, I’m sure we’d all like to see this polka hybrid and a bit of history about it… Please add it in the tunes section so we can all check it out… In the meantime my brain is having derrailment imagining it…and my feet.

What has the Suffolk countryside and folk done to it? Seriously curious…

Re: good mazurkas

I have shoe the donkey in 2/4 as well and play it for a dance

Re: good mazurkas

That’s definitely not a 2/4 version of Shoe the Donkey at the link shown above. It’s an old Kerry Polka which I thought was Ballydesmond No. 3 although the Walton Book of polkas and slides has it titled "Andy Boyle’s". You’ll be relieved Ceolachan that you’re not going to have to get your feet around it after all!

Re: good mazurkas

I can’t find the place in this discussion where coelachan gave a detailed description of the Shoe the Donkey dance steps, but I have a question related to this. For those who know the dance, do you actually hop on the first beat of the measure, or is it like other Irish dances where you hop on the pick-up beat? The latter seems more natural to me, since it is the way I have danced other Mazurkas.