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Chopin published eight waltzes in his lifetime and because he was very critical he asked not to publish the unpublished works.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||E-flat major||1833||1834 (June)||Op. 18||B.62||Laura Horsford||Grande valse brillante ; used in Les Sylphides|
|2||A-flat major||1835||1838||Op. 34/1||B.94||Josefine von Thun-Hohenstein||The 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|
|3||A minor||1831||1838||Op. 34/2||B.64||Baroness C. d'Ivry|
|4||F major||1838 or earlier||1838||Op. 34/3||B.118||Mlle. A. d'Eichthal|
|5||A-flat major||1840||1840||Op. 42||B.131||Grande 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||1846-1847||XI 1847||Op. 64/1||B.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||1846-1847||XI 1847||Op. 64/2||B.164/2||Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild (= Charlotte de Rothschild)||Used in Les Sylphides and Secret|
|8||A-flat major||1846-1847||XI 1847||Op. 64/3||B.164/3||Countess Katarzyna Branicka (or Bronicka)|
|9||A-flat major||1835 (24 September)||1855||Op. posth. 69/1||B.95||Charlotte de Rothschild, Mme Peruzzi and Maria Wodzińska||L'adieu|
|10||B minor||1829||1852 (Krakow)||Op. posth. 69/2||B.35||Wilhelm Kolberg|
|11||G-flat major||1833||1855||Op. posth. 70/1||B.92||Used in Les Sylphides|
|12||F minor/A-flat major||1841 (June)||1852 (Krakow)||Op. posth. 70/2||B.138||Marie de Krudner, Mme. Oury, Élise Gavard & Countess Esterházy|
|13||D-flat major||1829 (3 October)||1855||Op. posth. 70/3||B.40|
|14||E minor||1830||1868||Op. Posth||B.56||KK IVa/15||P1/15||No autograph exists|
|15||E major||1829||1861 Lviv,Ukraine||-||B.44||KK IVa/12||P1/12||No autograph exists|
|16||A-flat major||1827||1902||-||B.21||KK IVa/13||P1/13||Emilia Elsner|
|17||E-flat major||1827||1902||B 46||KK IVa/14||P1/14||Emilia Elsner|
|18||E-flat major||1840||1955||-||B.133||KK IVb/10||Émile Gaillard||Headed "Sostenuto"; not always classified as a waltz.From 1938 present in the "Conservatoire Paris "|
|19||A minor||1847–49 ( ? )||1955, 1958||Op. Posth||B.150||KK IVb/11||P2/11||Charlotte de Rothschild or daughter||Unedited edition pub. Paris 1955; ed. Jack Werner 1958. From 1901 present in the "Bibliotheque du Conservatoire de Paris "|
|20||F-sharp minor||1838 (?)||1932||-||KK Ib/7||A1/7||Not 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 major||1824 (?)||-||-||KK Vb/8||Lost|
|-||A minor||1824||-||-||-||KK Vf||Countess Lubienska||Lost|
|-||C major||1826||-||-||KK Vb/3||MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant|
|-||A-flat major||1827||-||-||KK Vb/4||MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant|
|-||D minor||1828||-||-||KK Vb/6||La Partenza; MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant|
|-||A minor||1829||-||-||Discovered 1937; was in possession of H. Hinterberger of Vienna, but now believed destroyed|
|-||A minor||1829 (?)||-||-||-||-||Sketches for a brief prelude and main theme|
|-||A-flat major||1829–30 (by 21 December 1830)||-||-||KK Vb/5||Mentioned 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 major||1829–30||-||-||KK Vb/7||MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant|
|-||C major||1831||-||-||MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant|
|-||?||1845 (by)||-||-||-||KK Ve/12||Mentioned in diary of L. Niedźwiecki|
|-||B major||1848 (12 October)||-||-||B.166||KK Va/3||Madame Erskine||According to a letter of Arthur Hedley (March 10 1960) |
manuscript in a private collection (London)
|-||E-flat major||1829-30||-||-||KK Vb/7||Mentioned in letters from Breitkopf to Izabela Barcińska in 1878|
|-||?||?||-||-||-||KK Ve/10||Listed in auction catalogue, Paris, March 1906|
|-||?||?||-||-||-||KK Ve/11||Mentioned in letters from Breitkopf to Izabela Barcińska in 1878|
|-||?||?||-||-||-||KK Vf||Several waltzes; lost|
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This Waltz was published together with the Waltz in A-flat Major (see above, No. 16).