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The mazurka (in Polish, mazurek) is a stylized Polish folk dance in triple meter, usually at a lively tempo that has a heavy accent on the third or second beat.



The folk origins of the mazurek are two other Polish musical forms—the slow kujawiak, and the fast oberek. The mazurek is always found to have either a triplet, trill, dotted eighth note (quaver) pair, or an ordinary eighth note pair before two quarter notes (crotchets). In the 19th century, the dance became popular in ballrooms in the rest of Europe. The Polish national anthem has a mazurek rhythm but is too slow to be considered a mazurek.

In Polish, this musical form is called "mazurek"—a word derived from "mazur," which up to the nineteenth century denoted an inhabitant of Poland's Mazovia region, and which also became the root for "Masuria." In Polish, "mazurka" is actually the genitive and accusative cases of "mazurek."

Several classical composers have written mazurkas, with the best known being the 58 composed by Frédéric Chopin for solo piano. Henryk Wieniawski also wrote two for violin with piano (the popular "Obertas", op. 19), and in the 1920s, Karol Szymanowski wrote a set of twenty for piano and finished his composing career with a final pair in 1934.

Chopin first started composing mazurkas in 1825, but his composing did not become serious until 1830, the year of the November Uprising, a Polish rebellion against the Russian government. Chopin continued composing them until 1849, the year of his death. The stylistic and musical characteristics of Chopin’s mazurkas differ from the traditional variety because Chopin in effect created a completely separate and new genre of mazurkas all his own. For example, he used classical techniques in his mazurkas, including counterpoint and fugues.[1] By including more chromaticism and harmony in the mazurkas, he made them more technically interesting than the traditional dances. Chopin also tried to compose his mazurkas in such a way that they could not be used for dancing, so as to distance them from the original form.

However, while Chopin changed some aspects of the original mazurkas, he maintained others. His mazurkas, like the traditional dances, contain a great deal of repetition: repetition of certain measures or groups of measures; of entire sections; and of an initial theme.[2]. The rhythm of his mazurkas also remains very similar to that of earlier mazurkas. However, Chopin also incorporated the rhythmic elements of the two other Polish forms mentioned above, the kujawiak and oberek; his mazurkas usually feature rhythms from more than one of these three forms (mazurek, kujawiak, and oberek). This use of rhythm suggests that Chopin tried to create a genre that had ties to the original form, but was still something new and different.

Outside Poland

In Russia, Mily Balakirev composed seven mazurkas for solo piano. Also, Tchaikovsky composed six mazurkas for solo piano, one for his Swan Lake score, one in his opera Eugene Onegin, and one for his Sleeping Beauty score; Léo Delibes composed one which appears several times in the first act of his ballet Coppélia; Borodin wrote two in his Petite Suite for piano; Mikhail Glinka also wrote two, although one is a simplified version of Chopin's Mazurka Number 13 and Alexander Scriabin used the form as well. The mazurka is an important dance in many Russian novels. In addition to its mention in Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina as well as in a protracted episode in War and Peace, the dance is prominently featured in Ivan Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons. Arkady reserves the mazurka for Madame Odintsov with whom he is falling in love.

In France, Impressionistic composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel both wrote mazurkas; Debussy's is a stand-alone piece, and Ravel's is part of a suite of an early work, La Parade. The mazurka appears frequently in French traditional folk music.

Mazurkas are also popular in the traditional dance music of County Donegal, Ireland.

In Swedish folk music, the quaver or eight-note polska has a similar rhythm to the mazurka, and the two dances have a common origin.

The dance was common as a popular dance in Europe and the United States in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. It survives in some old time fiddle tunes, and also in early Cajun music, though it has largely fallen out of Cajun music now. In the Southern United States it was sometimes known as a mazuka.

In Cape Verde the mazurka is also revered as an important cultural phenomenon played with a violin and accompanied by guitars. It also takes a dance form found in the north of the archipelago, mainly in São Nicolau, Santo Antão, and Brava.

In Portugal the mazurka became one of the most popular traditional European dances through the first years of the annual Andanças, a traditional dances festival held nearby São Pedro do Sul.

In Cuba, composer Ernesto Lecuona wrote a piece titled Mazurka en Glisado for the piano, one of various commissions throughout his life.

In Nicaragua, Carlos Mejía Godoy y los de Palacaguina and Los Soñadores de Saraguasca made a compilation of mazurkas from popular folk music, which are performed with a violin de talalate, an indigenous instrument from Nicaragua.

In Curaçao the mazurka was popular as dance music in the nineteenth century, as well as in the first half of the twentieth century. Several Curaçao-born composers such as Jan Gerard Palm, Joseph Sickman Corsen, Jacobo Palm, Rudolph Palm and Wim Statius Muller have written mazurkas.

In Brazil, the composer Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote a mazurka for classical guitar in a similar musical style to Polish mazurkas.

In Australia, Julian Cochran composed a collection of five mazurkas for solo piano and orchestra.

Popular culture

Groucho Marx mentions the mazurka in his song "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" from "At the Circus": "For two bits, she will do a mazurka in jazz..."

Pink Martini reference mazurka as a metaphor for a relationship in their song "Dosvedanya Mio Bombino (farewell my bumblebee)" from "Hey Eugene!": "In Florence we were on the mend; But that mazurka had to end..."

A class of Danish sex-comedies, referred to generically as "bedroom mazurkas" was made in the 70's and 80's, apparently based on this early movie title.

The mazurka is a class of songs able to be played by the Bards in the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, which increases the movement speed of party members for a short while.


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  1. ^ Charles Rosen, The Romantic Generation (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995)
  2. ^ Jeffrey Kallberg, The problem of repetition and return in Chopin's mazurkas, Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1988.


  • Milewski, Barbara. "Chopin's Mazurkas and the Myth of the Folk." 19th-Century Music 23.2 (1999): 113-35.
  • Rosen, Charles. The Romantic Generation. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995.
  • Kallberg, Jeffrey. “The problem of repetition and return in Chopin's mazurkas.” Chopin Styles, ed. Jim Samson. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
  • Kallberg, Jeffrey. "Chopin's Last Style." Journal of the American Musicological Society 38.2 (1985): 264-315.
  • Winoker, Roselyn M. “Chopin and the Mazurka.” Diss. Sarah Lawrence College, 1974.

See also

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MAZURKA (Polish for a woman of the province of Mazovia),. a lively dance, originating in Poland, somewhat resembling the polka. It is danced in couples, the music being in $ or 4 time. MAllARA DEL Vallo, a town of Sicily, in the province of Trapani, on the south-west coast of the island, 32 m. by rail S. of Trapani. Pop. (1901), 20,130. It is the seat of a bishop;. the cathedral, founded in 1093, was rebuilt in the 17th century. The castle, at the south-eastern angle of the town walls, was. erected in 1073. The mouth of the river, which bears the same name, serves as a port for small ships only. Mazzara was in origin a colony of Selinus: it was destroyed in 409, but it is mentioned again as a Carthaginian fortress in the First Punic War and as a post station on the Roman coast road, though whether it had municipal rights is doubtful.' A few inscriptions of the imperial period exist, but no other remains of importance. On the west bank of the river are grottoes cut in the rock, of uncertain date: and there are quarries in the neighbourhood resembling those of Syracuse, but on a smaller scale.

See A. Castiglione, Sidle cose antiche della cilia di Mazzara (Alcamo, 1878).

MAllINI, Giuseppe (1805-1872), Italian patriot, was born on the 22nd of June 1805 at Genoa, where his father, Giacomo, Mazzini, was a physician in good practice, and a professor in the university. His mother is described as having been a woman of great personal beauty, as well as of active intellect and strong affections. During infancy and childhood his health was extremely delicate, and it appears that he was nearly six years. of age before he was quite able to walk; but he had already begun to devour books of all kinds and to show other signs of great intellectual precocity. He studied Latin with his first tutor,, 1 Th. Mommsen in Corpus inscr. lat. (Berlin, 1883), x. 739.

an old priest, but no one directed his extensive course of reading. He became a student at the university of Genoa at an unusually early age, and intended to follow his father's profession, but being unable to conquer his horror of practical anatomy, he decided to graduate in law (1826). His exceptional abilities, together with his remarkable generosity, kindness and loftiness of character, endeared him to his fellow students. As to his inner life during this period, we have only one brief but significant sentence; " for a short time," he says, " my mind was somewhat tainted by the doctrines of the foreign materialistic school; but the study of history and the intuitions of conscience - the only tests of truth - soon led me back to the spiritualism of our Italian fathers." The natural bent of his genius was towards literature, and, in the course of the four years of his nominal connexion with the legal profession, he wrote a considerable number of essays and reviews, some of which have been wholly or partially reproduced in the critical and literary volumes of his Life and Writings. His first essay, characteristically enough on " Dante's Love of Country," was sent to the editor of the Antologia fiorentina in 1826, but did not appear until some years afterwards in the Subalpino. He was an ardent supporter of romanticism as against what he called " literary servitude under the name of classicism "; and in this interest all his critiques (as, for example, that of Giannoni's " Exile " in the Indicatore Livornese, 1829) were penned. But in the meantime the " republican instincts " which he tells us he had inherited from his mother had been developing, and his sense of the evils under which Italy was groaning had been intensified; and at the same time he became possessed with the idea that Italians, and he himself in particular, " could and therefore ought to struggle for liberty of country." Therefore, he at once put aside his dearest ambition, that of producing a complete history of religion, developing his scheme of a new theology uniting the spiritual with the practical life, and devoted himself to political thought. His literary articles accordingly became more and more suggestive of advanced liberalism in politics, and led to the suppression by government of the Indicatore Genovese and the Indicatore Livornese successively. Having joined the Carbonari, he soon rose to one of the higher grades in their hierarchy, and was entrusted with a special secret mission into Tuscany; but, as his acquaintance grew, his dissatisfaction with the organization of the society increased, and he was already meditating the formation of a new association stripped of foolish mysterious and theatrical formulae, which instead of merely combating existing authorities should have a definite and purely patriotic aim, when shortly after the French revolution of 1830 he was betrayed, while initiating a new member, to the Piedmontese authorities. He was imprisoned in the fortress of Savona on the western Riviera for about six months, when, a conviction having been found impracticable through deficiency of evidence, he was released, but upon conditions involving so many restrictions of his liberty that he preferred the alternative of leaving the country. He withdrew accordingly into France, living chiefly in Marseilles.

While in his lonely cell at Savona, in presence of " those symbols of the infinite, the sky and the sea," with a greenfinch for his sole companion, and having access to no books but " a Tacitus, a Byron, and a Bible," he had finally become aware of the great mission or " apostolate " (as he himself called it) of his life; and soon after his release his prison meditations took shape in the programme of the organization which was destined soon to become so famous throughout Europe, that of La Giovine Italia, or Young Italy. Its publicly avowed aims were to be the liberation of Italy both from foreign and domestic tyranny, and its unification under a republican form of government; the means to be used were education, and, where advisable, insurrection by guerrilla bands; the motto was to be " God and the people," and the banner was to bear on one side the words " Unity " and " Independence " and on the other " Liberty," " Equality," and " Humanity," to describe respectively the national and the international aims. In April 1831 Charles Albert, " the exCarbonaro conspirator of 1821," succeeded Charles Felix on the Sardinian throne, and towards the close of that year Mazzini, making himself, as he afterwards confessed, " the interpreter of a hope which he did not share," wrote the new king a letter, published at Marseilles, urging him to take the lead in the impending struggle for Italian independence. Clandestinely reprinted, and rapidly circulated all over Italy, its bold and outspoken words produced a great sensation, but so deep was the offence it gave to the Sardinian government that orders were issued for the immediate arrest and imprisonment of the author should he attempt to cross the frontier. Towards the end of the same year appeared the important Young Italy " Manifesto," the substance of which is given in the first volume of the Life and Writings of Mazzini; and this was followed soon afterwards by the society's Journal, which, smuggled across the Italian frontier, had great success in the objects for which it was written, numerous " congregations " being formed at Genoa, Leghorn, and elsewhere. Representations were consequently made by the Sardinian to the French government, which issued in an order for Mazzini's withdrawal from Marseilles (Aug. 1832); he lingered for a few months in concealment, but ultimately found it necessary to retire into Switzerland.

From this point it is somewhat difficult to follow the career of the mysterious and terrible conspirator who for twenty years out of the next thirty led a life of voluntary imprisonment (as he himself tells us) " within the four walls of a room," and " kept no record of dates, made no biographical notes, and preserved no copies of letters." In 1833, however, he is known to have been concerned in an abortive revolutionary movement which took place in the Sardinian army; several executions took place, and he himself was laid under sentence of death. Before the close of the same year a similar movement in Genoa had been planned, but failed through the youth and inexperience of the leaders. At Geneva, also in 1833, Mazzini set on foot L'Europe Centrale, a journal of which one of the main objects was the emancipation of Savoy; but he did not confine himself to a merely literary agitation for this end. Chiefly through his agency a considerable body of German, Polish and Italian exiles was organized, and an armed invasion of the duchy planned. The frontier was actually crossed on the 1st of February 1834, but the attack ignominiously broke down without a shot having been fired. Mazzini, who personally accompanied the expedition, is no doubt correct in attributing the failure to dissensions with the Carbonari leaders in Paris, and to want of a cordial understanding between himself and the Savoyard Ramorino, who had been chosen as military leader.

In April 1834 the " Young Europe " association " of men believing in a future of liberty, equality and fraternity for all mankind, and desirous of consecrating their thoughts and actions to the realization of that future " was formed also under the influence of Mazzini's enthusiasm; it was followed soon afterwards by a " Young Switzerland " society, having for its leading idea the formation of an Alpine confederation, to include Switzerland, Tyrol, Savoy and the rest of the Alpine chain as well. But La Jeune Suisse newspaper was compelled to stop within a year, and in other respects the affairs of the struggling patriot became embarrassed. He was permitted to remain at Grenchen in Solothurn for a while, but at last the Swiss diet, yielding to strong and persistent pressure from abroad, exiled him about the end of 1836. In January 1837 he arrived in London, where for many months he had to carry on a hard fight with poverty and the sense of spiritual loneliness, so touchingly described by himself in the first volume of the Life and Writings. Ultimately, as he gained command of the English language, he began to earn a livelihood by writing review articles, some of which have since been reprinted, and are of a high order of literary merit; they include papers on "Italian Literature since 1830 " and " Paolo Sarpi " in the Westminster Review, articles on " Lamennais," " George Sand," " Byron and Goethe " in the Monthly Chronicle, and on " Lamartine," " Carlyle," and" The Minor Works of Dante " in the British and Foreign Review. In 1839 he entered into relations with the revolutionary committees sitting in Malta and Paris, and in 1840 he originated a working men's association, and the weekly journal entitled A postolato Popolare, in which the admirable popular treatise " On the Duties of Man " was commenced. Among the patriotic and philanthropic labours undertaken by Mazzini during this period of retirement in London may be mentioned a free evening school conducted by himself and a few others for some years, at which several hundreds of Italian children received at least the rudiments of secular and religious education. He also exposed and combated the infamous traffic carried on in southern Italy, where scoundrels bought small boys from poverty-stricken parents and carried them off to England and elsewhere to grind organs and suffer martyrdom at the hands of cruel taskmasters.

The most memorable episode in his life during the same period was perhaps that which arose out of the conduct of Sir James Graham, the home secretary, in systematically, for some months, opening Mazzini's letters as they passed through the British post office, and communicating their contents to the Neapolitan government - a proceeding which was believed at the time to have led to the arrest and execution of the brothers Bandiera, Austrian subjects, who had been planning an expedition against Naples, although the recent publication of Sir James Graham's life seems to exonerate him from the charge. The prolonged discussions in parliament, and the report of the committee appointed to inquire into the matter, did not, however, lead to any practical result, unless indeed the incidental vindication of Mazzini's character, which had been recklessly assailed in the course of debate. In this connexion Thomas Carlyle wrote to The Times: " I have had the honour to know Mr Mazzini for a series of years, and, whatever I may think of his practical insight and skill in worldly affairs, I can with great freedom testify that he, if I have ever seen one such, is a man of genius and virtue, one of those rare men, numerable unfortunately but as units in this world, who are worthy to be called martyr souls; who in silence, piously in their daily life, practise what is meant by that." Mazzini did not share the enthusiastic hopes everywhere raised in the ranks of the Liberal party throughout Europe by the first acts of Pius IX., in 1846, but at the same time he availed himself, towards the end of 1847, of the opportunity to publish a letter addressed to the new pope, indicating the nature of the religious and national mission which the Liberals expected him to undertake. The leaders of the revolutionary outbreaks in Milan and Messina in the beginning of 1848 had long been in secret correspondence with Mazzini; and their action, along with the revolution in Paris, brought him early in the same year to Italy, where he took a great and active interest in the events which dragged Charles Albert into an unprofitable war with Austria; he actually for a short time bore arms under Garibaldi immediately before the reoccupation of Milan, but ultimately, after vain attempts to maintain the insurrection in the mountain districts, found it necessary to retire to Lugano. In the beginning of the following year he was nominated a member of the short-lived provisional government of Tuscany formed after the flight of the grand-duke, and almost simultaneously, when Rome had, in consequence of the withdrawal of Pius IX., been proclaimed a republic, he was declared a member of the constituent assembly there. A month afterwards, the battle of Novara having again decided against Charles Albert in the brief struggle with Austria, into which he had once more been drawn, Mazzini was appointed a member of the Roman triumvirate, with supreme executive power (March 23, 1849). The opportunity he now had for showing the administrative and political ability which he was believed to possess was more apparent than real, for the approach of the professedly friendly French troops soon led to hostilities, and resulted in a siege which terminated, towards the end of June, with the assembly's resolution to discontinue the defence, and Mazzini's indignant resignation. That he succeeded, however, for so long a time, and in circumstances so adverse, in maintaining a high degree of order within the turbulent city is a fact that speaks for itself. His diplomacy, backed as it was by no adequate physical force, naturally showed at the time to very great disadvantage, but his official correspondence and proclamations can still be read with admiration and intellectual pleasure, as well as his eloquent vindication of the revolution in his published " Letter to MM. de Tocqueville and de Falloux." The surrender of the city on the 30th of June was followed by Mazzini's not too precipitate flight by way of Marseilles into Switzerland, whence he once more found his way to London. Here in 1850 he became president of the National Italian Committee, and at the same time entered into close relations with Ledru-Rollin and Kossuth. He had a firm belief in the value of revolutionary attempts, however hopeless they might seem; he had a hand in the abortive rising at Mantua in 1852, and again, in February 1853, a considerable share in the ill-planned insurrection at Milan on the 6th of February 1853, the failure of which greatly weakened his influence; once more, in 1854, he had gone far with preparations for renewed action when his plans were completely disconcerted by the withdrawal of professed supporters, and by the action of the French and English governments in sending ships of war to Naples.

The year 1857 found him yet once more in Italy, where, for complicity in short-lived emeutes which took place at Genoa, Leghorn and Naples, he was again laid under sentence of death. Undiscouraged in the pursuit of the one great aim of his life by any such incidents as these, he returned to London, where he edited his new journal Pensiero ed Azione, in which the constant burden of his message to the overcautious practical politicians of Italy was: " I am but a voice crying Action; but the state of Italy cries for it also. So do the best men and people of her cities. Do you wish to destroy my influence? Act." The same tone was at a somewhat later date assumed in the letter he wrote to Victor Emmanuel, urging him to put himself at the head of the movement for Italian unity, and promising republican support. As regards the events of 1859-1860, however, it may be questioned whether, through his characteristic inability to distinguish between the ideally perfect and the practically possible, he did not actually hinder more than he helped the course of events by which the realization of so much of the great dream of his life was at last brought about. If Mazzini was the prophet of Italian unity, and Garibaldi its knight errant, to Cavour alone belongs the honour of having been the statesman by whom it was finally accomplished. After the irresistible pressure of the popular movement had led to the establishment not of an Italian republic but of an Italian kingdom, Mazzini could honestly enough write, " I too have striven to realize unity under a monarchical flag," but candour compelled him to add, " The Italian people are led astray by a delusion at the present day, a delusion which has induced them to substitute material for moral unity and their own reorganization. Not so I. I bow my head sorrowfully to the sovereignty of the national will; but monarchy will never number me amongst its servants or followers." In 1865, by way of protest against the still uncancelled sentence of death under which he lay, Mazzini was elected by Messina as delegate to the Italian parliament, but, feeling himself unable to take the oath of allegiance to the monarchy, he never took his seat. In the following year, when a general amnesty was granted after the cession of Venice to Italy, the sentence of death was at last removed, but he declined to accept such an " offer of oblivion and pardon for having loved Italy above all earthly things." In May 1869 he was again expelled from Switzerland at the instance of the Italian government for having conspired with Garibaldi; after a few months spent in England he set out (1870) for Sicily, but was promptly arrested at sea and carried to Gaeta, where he was imprisoned for two months. Events soon made it evident that there was little danger to fear from the contemplated rising, and the occasion of the birth of a prince was seized for restoring him to liberty. The remainder of his life, spent partly in London and partly at Lugano, presents no noteworthy incidents. For some time his health had been far from satisfactory, but the immediate cause of his death was an attack of pleurisy with which he was seized at Pisa, and which terminated fatally on the 10th of March 1872. The Italian parliament by a unanimous vote expressed the national sorrow with which the tidings of his death had been received, the president pronouncing an eloquent eulogy on the departed patriot as a model of disinterestedness and self-denial, and one who had dedicated his whole life ungrudgingly to the cause of his country's freedom. A public funeral took place at Pisa on the 14th of March, and the remains were afterwards conveyed to Genoa. (J. S. BL.) The published writings of Mazzini, mostly occasional, are very voluminous. An edition was begun by himself and continued by A. Saffi, Scritti editi e inediti di Giuseppe Mazzini, in 18 vols. (Milan and Rome, 1861-1891); many of the most important are found in the partially autobiographical Life and Writings of Joseph Mazzini (1864-1870) and the two most systematic - Thoughts upon Democracy in Europe, a remarkable series of criticisms on Benthamism, St Simonianism, Fourierism, and other economic and socialistic schools of the day, and the treatise On the Duties of Man, an admirable primer of ethics, dedicated to the Italian working class - will be found in Joseph Mazzini: a Memoir, by Mrs E. A. Venturi (London, 1875). Mazzini's " first great sacrifice," he tells us, was " the renunciation of the career of literature for the more direct path of political action," and as late as 1861 we find him still recurring to the long-cherished hope of being able to leave the stormy arena of politics and consecrate the last years of his life to the dream of his youth. He had specially contemplated three considerable literary undertakings - a volume of Thoughts on Religion, a popular History of Italy, to enable the working classes to apprehend what he conceived to be the " mission " of Italy in God's providential ordering of the world, and a comprehensive collection of translations of ancient and modern classics into Italian. None of these was actually achieved. No one, however, can read even the briefest and most occasional writing of Mazzini without gaining some impression of the simple grandeur of the man, the lofty elevation of his moral tone, his unwavering faith in the living God, who is ever revealing Himself in the progressive development of humanity. His last public utterance is to be found in a highly characteristic article on Renan's Reforme Morale et Intellectuelle, finished on the 3rd of March 1872, and published in the Fortnightly Review for February 1874. Of the 40,000 letters of Mazzini only a small part have been published. In 1887 two hundred unpublished letters were printed at Turin (Duecento lettere inedite di Giuseppe Mazzini), in 1895 the Lettres intimes were published in Paris, and in 1905 Francesco Rosso published Lettre inedite di Giuseppe Mazzini (Turin, 1905). A popular edition of Mazzini's writings has been undertaken by order of the Italian government.

For Mazzini's biography see Jessie White Mario, Della vita di Giuseppe Mazzini (Milan, 1886), a useful if somewhat too enthusiastic work; Bolton King, Mazzini (London, 1903); Count von Schack, Joseph Mazzini and die italienische Einheit (Stuttgart, 1891). A. Luzio's Giuseppe Mazzini (Milan, 1905) contains a great deal of valuable information, bibliographical and other, and Dora Melegari in La giovine Italia e Giuseppe Mazzini (Milan, 1906) publishes the correspondence between Mazzini and Luigi A. Melegari during the early days of " Young Italy." For the literary side of Mazzini's life see Peretti, Gli scritti letterarii di Giuseppe Mazzini (Turin, 1904). (L. V.*) MAllDNI, Giacomo (1548-1598), Italian philosopher, was born at Cesena and died at Ferrara. A member of a noble family and highly educated, he was one of the most eminent savants of the period. He occupied chairs in the universities of Pisa and Rome, was one of the founders of the Della Crusca Academy, and had the distinction, it is said, of thrice vanquishing the Admirable Crichton in dialectic. His chief work in philosophy was an attempt to reconcile Plato and Aristotle, and in this spirit he published in 1597 a treatise In universam Platonis et Aristotelis philosophiam praecludia. He wrote also De triplici hominum vita, wherein he outlined a theory of the infinite perfection and development of nature. Apart from philosophy, he was prominent in literature as the champion of Dante, and produced two works in the poet's defence: Discorso composto in difesa della comedia di Dante (1572), and Della difesa della comedia di Dante (1587, reprinted 1688). He was an authority on ancient languages and philology, and gave a great impetus to the scientific study of the Italian language.

MAllONI, Guido (1859-), Italian poet, was born at Florence, and educated at Pisa and Bologna. In 1887 he became professor of Italian at Padua, and in 1894 at Florence. He was much influenced by Carducci, and became " prominent both as a prolific and well-read critic and as a poet of individual distinction. His chief volumes of verse are Versi (1880), Nuove poesie (1886), Poesie (1891), Voci della vita (1893).

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Simple English

The Mazurka is a Polish country dance. It comes from an area called Mazovia near Warsaw where the people are called Mazurs. It was known in the 16th century. In the 17th century its popularity spread all over Poland and by the 19th century it was becoming known in England and then the United States. The Mazurka is very similar to the Kujawiak which is a dance from another district near Warsaw.

The Mazurka is a lively dance in 3/4 metre. It has lots of dotted rhythms and the fourth note of the scale is often sharpened. The dancers often click their heels on the 2nd or 3rd beat of the bar. The speed is not always fast, it can be slow, but it is a wilder dance than the waltz which is also in 3/4 time and had become very popular as a ballroom dance.

The composer Frédéric Chopin wrote more than 50 mazurkas for the piano. Chopin really shows his genius in these pieces. They are very beautiful and there is a lot of variety and interest in them. Many of them are not all that difficult to play. Some of them have very chromatic bits in them.

There were other classical composers who wrote Mazurkas, but none of them are as good as those of Chopin. Some Russian composers like Glinka and Tchaikovsky wrote several mazurkas. It was danced a lot in Russia in the 19th century and it is mentioned a lot in Russian novels. In the 20th century Karol Szymanowski wrote several mazurkas.

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