The Mazurka is a Polish dance in triple time. Its name is derived from the word mazur, which refers to an inhabitant of the Mazovia region in Poland. A typical, basic mazurka rhythm consists of two quavers followed by two crotchets, with an accent on the second or third beat.
Chopin’s Mazurkas (which also include elements of two other Polish national dances, the slow Kujawiak and the fast Oberek) were written during the whole span of his career, and illustrate better than any other of his works his aim of expressing the Polish spirit. Chopin here pursues some of his most audacious and novel ideas in terms of harmony and melody. Liszt remarked that "to do justice to the mazurkas, one would have to harness a new pianist of the first rank to each one of them".