Klarinet Archive - Posting 000304.txt from 1995/03
From: Fred Jacobowitz <fredj@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: The Stately Polacca
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 23:31:32 -0500
You didn't read the whole article. This is dangerous. As I
wrote in today's other posting, Groves says, in effect, that alla polacca
means anything the composers damn well wanted it to. So ignore all that
B.S. about 'stately', etc. Play it nice and quick and showy. Also,
remember that there are dictionaries and dictionaries but there is only
one OED! And only one Webster's 3rd International. So be careful about
taking lesser dictionaries (especially the 'off-brands') too seriously.
On Fri, 10 Mar 1995, Nichelle Crocker wrote:
> 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 applie
> 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 definition
> 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"
> Nichelle Crocker