Saturday, November 7, 2009

Recomposition as a polka

As a postscript to Wednesday and Thursday's entries, I have followed a habit common in American sheet music of the mid-nineteenth century, according to which a waltz or other 3/4 meter dance is recast as a polka in the form of an appendix. In the graphic below, I have changed the meter from triple to duple, converting the A Major Waltz into a polka. This waltz works surprisingly well because its eighth-note groups switching between the hands allow one to make very characteristic polka rhythms in the melody (the two eighths plus four sixteenths in bar 3; the two eighths and a quarter in bar 4).
The model for this recomposition is the "Adelaide" polka by D. T. Haraden, published in Boston in 1848. A facsimile of Haraden's polka is available on the Library of Congress American Memory website in the 1820-1860 section: Adelaide.