Waltzes (Chopin)

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Frédéric Chopin’s waltzes are pieces of moderate length adhering to the traditional 3/4 waltz time, but are remarkably different from the earlier Viennese waltzes in that they were not designed for dancing but for concert performance. Some of them are accessible by pianists of moderate capabilities, but the more difficult of them require an advanced technique. Carl Maria von Weber's Invitation to the Dance was an early model for Chopin's waltzes.


Chopin started writing waltzes in 1824, when he was fourteen, and continued until the year of his death, 1849. He wrote 36 in total, of which 20 are numbered.

Probably the most famous are the Minute Waltz in D-flat major and the C-sharp minor waltz of 1847, two of the last set of waltzes Chopin published before his death (Op. 64).


Chopin published eight waltzes in his lifetime and because he was very critical he asked not to publish the unpublished works. However, Chopin's sister Ludwika and Julian Fontana decided to publish the waltzes 9-13. Another six waltzes (composed 1826-1831), present in the Paris home, were preserved but later destroyed in a fire in 1863 in Ludwika's house. Publication of the waltzes 14-19 occurred later. Chopin had given them to related persons and had not guarded the manuscripts.

The waltzes include a piece that was untitled; it is in 3/4 time with the tempo indication Sostenuto, and it has some of the characteristics of a waltz, so it is often (but not universally) catalogued with the waltzes. (In addition, the last variation of his Variations on a German Air, op. posth., is in the form of a waltz.)

In addition, there remain:

  1. Extant waltzes in private hands and unavailable to researchers.
  2. Waltzes believed destroyed.
  3. Waltzes believed lost.
  4. Waltzes of which documentary evidence exists but the MSS are not known to be extant.

List of waltzes by or attributed to Chopin

KeyComposedPublishedOpus NumberBrownKobylańskaChominskiDedicationNotes
1 E-flat major 18331834 (June)Op. 18B.62Laura Horsford Grande valse brillante ; used in Les Sylphides
2A-flat major18351838Op. 34/1B.94Josefine von Thun-HohensteinThe three waltzes, Op. 34 were also published as Grandes valses brillantes, but this title is usually reserved for the Waltz in E-flat major, Op. 18
3A minor18311838Op. 34/2B.64Baroness C. d'Ivry
4F major1838 or earlier1838Op. 34/3B.118Mlle. A. d'Eichthal
5 A-flat major 18401840Op. 42B.131Grande valse; sometimes called the 2/4 waltz since the main melody sounds as if in 2/4 time against a 3/4 bass.
6 D-flat major 1846-1847XI 1847Op. 64/1B.164/1 Countess Delfina Potocka Valse du petit chien is the title Chopin gave this waltz, which is popularly known as Minute Waltz
7 C-sharp minor 1846-1847XI 1847Op. 64/2B.164/2Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild (= Charlotte de Rothschild)Used in Les Sylphides and Secret
8 A-flat major 1846-1847XI 1847Op. 64/3B.164/3Countess Katarzyna Branicka (or Bronicka)
9 A-flat major 1835 (24 September)1855Op. posth. 69/1B.95Charlotte de Rothschild, Mme Peruzzi and Maria Wodzińska L'adieu
10 B minor 18291852 (Krakow)Op. posth. 69/2B.35Wilhelm Kolberg
11G-flat major18331855Op. posth. 70/1B.92Used in Les Sylphides
12F minor/A-flat major1841 (June)1852 (Krakow)Op. posth. 70/2B.138Marie de Krudner, Mme. Oury, Élise Gavard & Countess Esterházy
13D-flat major1829 (3 October)1855Op. posth. 70/3B.40
14 E minor 18301868Op. PosthB.56KK IVa/15P1/15No autograph exists
15 E major 18291861 Lviv,Ukraine-B.44KK IVa/12P1/12No autograph exists
16A-flat major18271902-B.21KK IVa/13P1/13Emilia Elsner [note 1] [note 2]
17E-flat major18271902B 46KK IVa/14P1/14Emilia Elsner [note 3]
18E-flat major18401955-B.133KK IVb/10Émile GaillardHeaded "Sostenuto"; not always classified as a waltz.From 1938 present in the "Conservatoire Paris "
19 A minor 1847–49 ( ? )1955, 1958Op. PosthB.150KK IVb/11P2/11Charlotte de Rothschild or daughterUnedited edition pub. Paris 1955; ed. Jack Werner 1958. From 1901 present in the "Bibliotheque du Conservatoire de Paris "
20F-sharp minor1838 (?)1932-KK Ib/7A1/7Not by Chopin; first published in 1861, and in 1986 published under the name Valse mélancolique by Stanislaw Dybowski on the bi-weekly "Ruch Muzyczny", but in 2012 discovered by Luca Chierici to be a shortened version of a piece by Charles Mayer named Le Régret, op. 332.
-C major1824 (?)--KK Vb/8Lost
-A minor1824---KK VfCountess LubienskaLost
-C major1826--KK Vb/3MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
-A-flat major1827--KK Vb/4MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
-D minor1828--KK Vb/6La Partenza; MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
-A minor1829--Discovered 1937; was in possession of H. Hinterberger of Vienna, but now believed destroyed
-A minor1829 (?)----Sketches for a brief prelude and main theme
-A-flat major1829–30 (by 21 December 1830)--KK Vb/5Mentioned in a letter from Chopin to his family, 21 December 1830; MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
-E-flat major1829–30--KK Vb/7MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
-C major1831--MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
- ?1845 (by)---KK Ve/12Mentioned in diary of L. Niedźwiecki
-B major1848 (12 October)--B.166KK Va/3Madame ErskineAccording to a letter of Arthur Hedley (March 10 1960)

manuscript in a private collection (London)

-E-flat major1829-30--KK Vb/7Mentioned in letters from Breitkopf to Izabela Barcińska in 1878
- ? ?---KK Ve/10Listed in auction catalogue, Paris, March 1906
- ? ?---KK Ve/11Mentioned in letters from Breitkopf to Izabela Barcińska in 1878
- ? ?---KK VfSeveral waltzes; lost

See also


  1. Emilia Elsner kept an album of Chopin's manuscripts, which was destroyed during World War II. [1] :29
  2. First published in 1902, from a manuscript in the possession of the family of Jósef Elsner, by F. Hoesick in Warsaw and Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig. [2] :132
  3. This Waltz was published together with the Waltz in A-flat Major (see above, No 16). [3] :133

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  1. Orga, Ateş (2015). Fryderyck Franciszek Chopin. London, New York, Sydney: Omnibus Press. p. 192. ISBN   978-1-78038-444-3. [Tomasz] Nidecki married Elsner's daughter Emilia (by his second marriage). Chopin contributed seventeen pieces to her autograph album, destroyed in World War II.
  2. Paderewski, Ignacy J., ed. (1949). Fryderyk Chopin Complete Works IX Waltzes. Warsaw: The Fryderyk Chopin Institute. This Waltz was published for the first time in 1902, from a manuscript in the possession of the family of Jósef Elsner, by F. Hoesick in Warsaw and Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig (as a supplement to the collected edition of Chopin's works, Klav. Bibl. No. 23 183 II). The Warsaw Musical Society has in its collections an autograph manuscript of Chopin dedicated to Madame Le Brun (Chopin, His Life and Work, Warsaw 1904, p. 533).
  3. Paderewski, Ignacy J., ed. (1949). Fryderyk Chopin Complete Works IX Waltzes. Warsaw: The Fryderyk Chopin Institute. This Waltz was published together with the Waltz in A-flat Major (see above, No. 16).