Klarinet Archive - Posting 000295.txt from 1995/03
From: Nichelle Crocker <NCROCKER@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: The Stately Polacca
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 16:32:04 -0500
I did basically the same research that Fred did, and I wanted to share more
specifically the outcome of it.
First of all, Fred basically stated that the term "polacca" can either be
taken as an exact translation of the term "polonaise" or it can be taken
to mean basically "in the polish style". Did I get that right, Fred?
Here is what Groves says about the Polacca: " Polacca (It: polish) Term applied
to compositions in the polish style ('alla polacca'); it is usually taken as
the Italian equivalent of Polonaise."
and about the polonaise: "The polonaise also appeared in chamber music,
concertos and opera, often with the title polacca."
I should add that if you look in a variety of music dictionaries, about
3/4 of them will say: Polacca, see polonaise. I know, because I looked.
And I found a few other interesting comments about the style and tempo.
"The tempo is usually moderately fast, the style proud, bold, even haughty."
from the Oxford Dictionary of Music:
"Certain rhythms are characteristic, such as the frequent division of the
first beat of the measure with accentuation of its 2nd half, the ending of
phrases on the third beat of the measure, etc."
(the etc. here really annoyed me...if there is more let's have it. If not,
we don't need an etc.)
and from the New Oxford Companion to Music:
"A polish dance in triple time and of moderate speed. It has a processional
and stately character and seems to have originated in courtly 16th-century
ceremonies. The early polonaise bears little resemblance to the 19th-
century dance which is characterized by triple time, phrases starting on the
first beat of the bar, and the repetition of short, rhythmic motifs."
I am beginning to see this as another example in music where strict definitions
are not necessarily adhered to and we must consider each piece individually.
By the way, Groves has a lot more listening examples listed under both
polacca and polonaise. One question: does alla polacca mean the same as
polacca? Does the first phrase mean "in the polish style" or "as a polonaise"?