examples of them may be found in Preciso's 'Coleccionde Las Mejores Coplasde Seguidillas, Tirañas y Polos' (Madrid, 1816). They are sung in unison by a chorus, who mark the time by clapping their hands. Some characteristic examples of the music of the Polo will be found in J. Gansino's 'La Joya de Andalucia' (Madrid, Romero).
[ W. B. S. ]
POLONAISE, a stately dance of Polish origin. According to Sowinski ('Les Musiciens Polonais') the Polonaise is derived from the ancient Christmas carols which are still sung in Poland. In support of this theory he quotes a carol, 'W zlobie lezy,' which contains the rhythm and close characteristic of the dance; but the fact that although in later times they were accompanied by singing, yet the earliest Polonaises extant are purely instrumental, renders it more probable than the generally received opinion as to their courtly origin is correct. According to this latter view, the Polonaise originated under the following circumstances. In 1573, Henry III. of Anjou was elected to the Polish throne, and in the following year held a great reception at Cracow, at which the wives of the nobles marched in procession past the throne to the sound of stately music. It is said that after this, whenever a foreign prince was elected to the crown of Poland the same ceremony was repeated, and that out of it the Polonaise was gradually developed as the opening dance at court festivities. If this custom was introduced by Henry III., we may perhaps look upon the Polonaise, which is so full of stateliness, as the survival of the dignified Pavans and Passomezzos which were so much in vogue at the French court in the 15th century. Evidence is not wanting to prove that the dance was not always of so marked a national character as it assumed in later times. Book vii. of Bésard's 'Thesaurus Harmonious Divini Laurencini Romani' (Cologne 1603) consists of 'Selectiores aliquot choreæ quas Allemande vocant, germanico saltui maxime accomodatæ, una cum Polonicis aliquot et aliis ab hoc saltationis genere haud absimilibus,' and these 'choreæ Polonicæ' (which are principally composed by one Diomedes, a naturalised Venetian at the court of Sigismund III.) exhibit very slightly the rhythm and peculiarities of Polish national music. During the 17th century, although it was no doubt during this time that it assumed the form that was afterwards destined to become so popular, the Polonaise has left no mark upon musical history, and it is not until the first half of the 18th century that examples of it begin to occur. In Walther's Lexicon (1732) no mention is made of it, or of any Polish music; but in Mattheson's 'Volkommener Capellmeister' (1739) we find it (as the author himself tells us) described for the first time. Mattheson notices the spondaic character of the rhythm, and remarks that the music of the Polonaise should begin on the first beat of the bar: he gives two examples (one in 3-4, the other in common time) made by himself out of the chorale 'Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ.' At this time the Polonaise seems suddenly to have attained immense popularity, probably owing to the intimate connexion between Saxony and Poland which was caused by the election (1733) of Augustus III. to the Polish throne. In 1742–43 there was published at Leipzig a curious little collection of songs entitled, 'Sperontes Singende Muse,' which contains many adaptations of Polish airs: in the following example (from the second part of the work) some of the peculiarities of the Polonaise may be traced.
From this time the Polonaise has always been a favourite form of composition with instrumental composers, and has not been without influence on vocal music, especially in Italian opera. [See Polacca.] Bach wrote two Polonaises (orchestral Partita in B minor, and French Suite, No. 6), besides a 'Polacca' (Brandenburg Concertos, No. 1, Dehn); and there are also examples by Handel (Grand Concerto, No. 3, in E minor), Beethoven (op. 89, Triple Concerto, and Serenade Trio, op. 8), Mozart ('Rondeau Polonaise,' Sonata in D minor), Schubert (Polonaises for 4 hands), Weber (op. 21, and the Polacca Brillante, op. 72), Wagner (for 4 hands, op. 2), as well as by the Polish composers Kurpinski and Ogniski, and above all by Chopin, under whose hands it reached what is perhaps the highest development possible for mere danceforms. Attracted by its striking rhythmical capabilities, and imbued with the deepest national sympathy, Chopin animated the dry form of the old Polonaise with a new and intensely living spirit, altering it as (in a lesser degree) he altered the Waltz and the Mazurka, and changing it from a mere dance into a glowing tone-
- In the Royal library at Berlin there is preserved a MS. volume which bears the date 1725, and formerly belonged to Bach's second wife, Anna Magdalena. In it are six Polonaises, written in the owner's autograph; but it is improbable that they are all of Sebastian Bach's composition.