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A waltz, or valse from the French term, is a piece of music in triple meter, most often 3/4-beat (help·info) but sometimes 3/8 or 3/2. Waltzes typically have one chord per measure, and the accompaniment style particularly associated with the waltz is (as seen in the example to the right) to play the root of the chord on the first beat, the upper notes on the second and third beats. The left hand accompaniment is known as an "oom-pa-pa" beat and consists of one of the major chords, C, F or G.
Classical composers traditionally supplied music for dancing when required, and Franz Schubert's waltzes were written for household dancing, without any pretense at being art music. However, Frédéric Chopin's surviving 18 waltzes (five he wrote as a child), along with his mazurkas and polonaises, were clearly not intended to be danced to. They marked the adoption of the waltz and other dance forms as serious composition genres. A notable precursor to Chopin was Carl Maria von Weber's Invitation to the Dance, which is considered the first concert waltz.
Other notable contributions to the waltz genre in classical music include 16 by Johannes Brahms (originally for piano duet), and Maurice Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales for piano and La valse for orchestra.
The waltz style is found in nearly every kind of European and Euro-American folk music and also in classical music. Although waltzes are often associated with the dance of the same name, not all waltzes were composed as dances: some were written for concert performance.
The waltz had once held so much importance in European music circles that great waltz composers received the honorary title of “Waltz King”. The title came with an accompanying “royal staff”, a decorated silver baton which was passed from musician to musician. Johann Strauss Jr., the most famous “Waltz King”, received the title frequently.
Many classical composers have written waltzes, including:
Waltzes can also be found as part of larger works:
Popular song waltzes
The waltz was a familiar format in popular songs until the 1970s. Some waltzes which are well-known popular hits include:
From the 1920s: "The Anniversary Waltz", "Are You Lonesome Tonight", "Always", "Remember", "What'll I Do", "All Alone", "The Song Is Ended", "Russian Lullaby", "Marie", "Together", "Lover", "Charmaine".
From the 1930s: "Falling in Love with Love", "Fascination", "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", "Reaching for the Moon", "Someday My Prince Will Come", "The Touch of Your Hand", "Wait Till You See Her", "When I Grow Too Old to Dream".
From the 1940s: "Goodnight, Irene", "You Always Hurt the One You Love", "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'", "Out of My Dreams", "Californ-i-ay", "Hello, Young Lovers", "The Carousel Waltz", "The Girl That I Marry", "The Girl Next Door", "Cruising Down the River", "Tenderly", "Let's Take an Old-Fashioned Walk", "It's a Big, Wide, Wonderful World", "You're Breaking My Heart". "This Nearly Was Mine", "A Wonderful Guy".
From the 1950s: "The Tennessee Waltz", "If", "I Went To Your Wedding", "(How Much Is) The Doggie in the Window", "Song from Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart)", "True Love", "Allegheny Moon", "Rock and Roll Waltz", "Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom)", "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)", "Tammy", "Around the World", "The Chipmunk Song", "El Paso", "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things".
From the 1960s: "The Times They Are a-Changin'", "Moon River", "Charade", "Dear Heart", "Somewhere, My Love (Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago)", "The Sweetheart Tree", "What the World Needs Now Is Love", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Time to Get Alone", "Friends", "The Last Waltz", "Jean".
From the 1970s: "Time in a Bottle", "Piano Man", "Annie's Song", "When I Need You", "You Light Up My Life", "If You Don't Know Me By Now", "Three Times a Lady", "Take It to the Limit", The Godfather Waltz, "Watching the River Run" by Jim Messina, "My Sweet and Tender Beast" by Eugen Doga.
Among popular composers, it seems they either wrote a lot of waltzes or almost none. Irving Berlin was known for his many waltzes, including "When I Lost You", "Always", "Remember", "What'll I Do", "All Alone", "The Song Is Ended", "Russian Lullaby", "Marie", "Reaching for the Moon", "The Girl That I Marry", "Let's Take an Old-Fashioned Walk", "(Just One Way To Say) I Love You", and "Let's Go Back to the Waltz". Similarly, Richard Rodgers wrote many waltzes, including "Lover", "Oh What a Beautiful Morning", "Out of My Dreams", "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Falling in Love with Love", "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", "Wait Till You See Her" "This Nearly Was Mine", "A Wonderful Guy", "Hello, Young Lovers", and "The Carousel Waltz". Henry Mancini included many waltzes among his popular songs: "Moon River", "Charade", "Dear Heart", "The Sweetheart Tree", and "Whistling Away the Dark". In contrast, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Cole Porter wrote only a small number of waltzes each. Stephen Sondheim often uses the waltz in his music, particularly in A Little Night Music
Contemporary composers have also made use of the waltz form. Notable examples include:
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Waltz". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
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