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Chopin’s first two Polonaises, in G minor and B flat major (which are identical in form), already have in the Introductions a rhythmic formula characteristic of the polonaise (the beginning bar – the so called polonaise rhythm, an eighth and two sixteenths). This formula allows the listener to unmistakably tell the polonaise from other dance compositions in three-four time.

The first of the two has several identifying features:

  • They sequence used in bars 4-5 which keeps making a reappearance throughout the piece.
  • The original double dotted/demi-semi quaver theme keeps making appearances.
  • The small ‘runs’, of nine notes each.
  • The quite frequent trills in the left hand.
< cr> The difficulties a pianist may encounter when trying to play this piece are as follows:< cr>
  • Getting the necessary fff at the start of the piece in the original 2 bar motif.
  • Playing the large chords well: they are very big and very difficult to remember.
  • One of the hardest things to do is to play the runs. They contain unusual intervals and must be played quite fast.
  • The occasional 3:2 or 4:3 rhythm may prove to be quite difficult.

Overall this is one of the middle-difficulty polonaises, which I will give a difficulty rating of about 7/10.

< cr>The Second of the set is more difficult than the first. The identifying features are:< cr>
  • The 2 semi-quaver and 1 quaver motif. This is used constantly.
  • The vast runs. These are much bigger than the runs in the first polonaise. They are also much more difficult to play.
  • The huge contrast in dynamics. This piece moves from pp to fff very quickly.
  • The trills, which, in this polonaise, always precede a run.
< cr>The difficulties are as follows:
  • The very large runs are very difficult to play.
  • Like in the first polonaise, some of the chords are very large, and the staccato quite frequently used. These may create problems for an inexperienced pianist.
  • The speed of the piece: It is a fast piece and it is quite demanding to be played at full speed.
< cr>This polonaise is more demanding than the first one, and I will give it a difficulty rating of 8/10.

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