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Chopin: Polonaise Op. 53 in A-flat Major

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Frédéric Chopin - Polonaises :
Polonaise, Op. 53
Polonaise Op. 53  in A-flat Major by Chopin piano sheet music
Key: A-flat Major Year: 1843
Level: 8+ Period: Early Romantic
piano sheet music Piano score: Scanned score (2865 kB)

A vision of Polish glory

The Polonaise Op. 53 in A-flat major has long been considered one of Chopin's most technically difficult yet most popular works. It remains a favorite among classical pianists not just for the technical challenge it represents, but for its satisfyingly triumphant and heroic tone. In fact, it is called the Heroic Polonaise. During the German invasion of Poland at the outset of World War II, Polish Radio broadcast this piece daily as a patriotic protest.

The first theme, after a brief introduction that sets the majestic tone of the piece, is suitably poised and noble for a Polonaise. It is later contrasted with a fanfare-like theme in E major, starting softly and growing into a fortissimo. This E-major theme is accompanied by a bass ostinato of descending octaves in the left hand. These continuous left hand octaves, which easily stiffen the arm if not played with a proper technique, are perhaps what most pianists consider the most technically difficult feature of this piece. However, it may be helpful to remember the fact that, according to Chopin’s friend, the pianist Charles Hallé, the composer always “felt very unhappy when he heard the grande polonaise in A flat major played fast, as it spoilt the whole grandeur and majesty of that noble inspiration."

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xx Polonaise in A flat Major ''Heroique'' is it hard?
March 29, 2011, 07:16:43 AM by chopinlover23

I've been fascinated by this Polonaise by Chopin, I listened to it on one of my CDs and instantly loved it. So I asked myself why dont I play it? I searched for some sheet music online and I was surprised to see that its very difficult to play, I could'nt get a single note right, any tips on how to play this piece with ease or links for an arranged version? Thanks =)

Luke Smiley

xx To program a war horse or not: Chopin Opus 53
March 03, 2011, 03:29:17 AM by gvans

I'm primarily a chamber music pianist, but I've been working on a solo concert program. I'll play it at several venues this fall. A violinist I work with talked me into playing shorter pieces rather than the three sonatas I originally envisioned--easier on the audience, in his opinion.

Here's the proposed program: Beethoven opus 26 (the only sonata), four works by Chopin, (the first Impromptu, op. 10 #3 and #12, and, ending the first half, the Ab polonaise, op. 53). Intermission. Brahms op. 79 (two rhapsodies), Liszt Db "Un Sospiro" (happy 200th, Franz), and Debussy Estampes.

This same fiddle player heard me play the polonaise and insisted I include it. My question to the
piano forum: Is performing this beating a dead horse, or not? There was a time, surely, when the "Heroic" was overplayed; yet in 2011, with our electronic-overloaded, iPod-earphoned audiences here in S. California, perhaps less. A dean in grad school years ago once told me never to perform the thing, he'd heard it too many times and thought it ruined by exposure.

I try to bring a fresh approach to the work; I've been playing Chopin with a lighter touch these days, keeping the tempos under control, using less pedal. The composer is famously said to have complained upon hearing someone play the octave section overly rapidly. Years ago I did play it too fast--especially those E/Eb octaves. But still--a war horse is a war horse.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter. Perhaps a more general question would be, how can one know when a piece is overplayed? "Stairway to Heaven," "Hotel California"--for sure. Chopin Opus 53--quien sabe?

xx any Suggestion to improve polonaise
November 24, 2010, 12:46:28 AM by kadukkadik

Hi guys
 Im amatuer pianist.
I love heroic polonaise very much
it's my most favorite Chopin work.
here is my first performance
it have slot of wrong note

do you guys have any suggestion forme to improve for next time?
Thanks guy

xx Chopin - Polonaise in A-flat, op.53 "Heroic"
July 06, 2010, 01:44:56 PM by andhow04

this is from a concert a couple of weeks ago.  here is the whole program:

Medtner - two fairy tales, op.20
Quentin Kim - Sonata in g# minor
Franck - Prelude, Chorale n Fugue
Debussy - Masques / D'un cahier d'esquisses / L'isle joyeuse
Bartok - Musiques nocturnes
Messiaen - petites esquisses d'oiseaux

this was the encore.  The encore is slightly dissonant from the rest of the second half... but i chose it because two of the event sponsors were polish.  have to make good with the sponsors! anyways it is a little rough around the edges, first time ie ver performerd it, and learned it just for this one concert, but i think it is exciting nonetheless.  enjoy!

xx Polonaise in A-flat Major Op.53 - Chopin, new version
May 24, 2010, 09:15:09 PM by adapa

I rerecorded this, my youtube version was sloppy and i got good advice from you guys so here we go again! Enjoy and tell me how it sounds Smiley

xx Frederich Chopin - Polonaise op. 53 (video)
April 05, 2010, 11:18:53 AM by ponken

This is my performance of  Chopin's polonaise. The audio quality is not so good but thank you if you listen/watch! What's your opinions, please?


xx Polonaise A flat major op.53 and Träumerei
March 21, 2010, 03:59:23 PM by adapa

Comments and advice are really appreciated!

xx Tips on playing the left hand octaves of Chopin's A flat polonaise?
August 26, 2009, 01:26:52 AM by mtierra

I'm not sure what the best way is to be able to play the powerful left hand octaves of the polonaise op 53. What's a good way to practice it to get it up to speed? With the repetition, my arm becomes painfully stiff.

xx Chopin polonaise, op. 53
July 27, 2008, 10:38:11 AM by birba

And last, but certainly not least, the accents on c above middle c throughout bars 143-151. Im sure its some sort of pedal on the mediant, but its an eerie effect when you play them.  I wonder if thats what Chopin wanted.

xx Chopin: Polonaise Op.53 (Heroic)
January 18, 2008, 10:26:51 PM by point of grace

who has the best version of this piece for you?



for me the best is Argerich´s... far, though i dont like her playing very much....

xx Polonaise "Heroic" - Chopin
November 20, 2006, 05:48:46 PM by faj

Still polishing this piece, but would like to hear any comments in this stage.


xx VIDEO: Performance - Chopin's Polonaise Op. 53
March 27, 2006, 05:41:03 AM by drumstix


YAY!  I performed last night in a local Young Artist's Competition, sponsored by the Roanoke Youth Symphony.  Twelve people played, on various instruments - mostly violins, then one flue, one oboe, a marimba solo, and me on piano.  I didn't win anything, but I think this is about the best I've ever played it, and that's more than enough for me. 

One of my friends performed Keiko Abe's 'Prism Rhapsody' on marimba and got 2nd place...it was AMAZING!  I think he deserved 1st place, but that only goes to seniors. 

Soooo let me know what you think, if you think had any business performing a piece like this, and what aspects I need to improve...

p.s.  I posted a recording a while ago, it can still be found at http://www.lordcharlie.com/pol_op53.wmv - if you feel like taking the time, let me know if you see improvements! 

xx VIDEO - Chopin - Heroic polonaise op 53
January 25, 2006, 08:51:50 AM by jamie_liszt


I seen somebody recorded a video of this polonaise and I decided i will re-learn this today and record it, all went well, took me 4 hours to re learn it, however i couldn't memorize the slow part after 5:20 so i just sight read. Havn't played it in a year or so for any performances, but would like to in about 9 months time, so could you please tell me where i could improve and how,

 i already know about the following mistakes:

37 sec i stuffed up starting on the wrong octave notes, 2:56 i stuffed up the scale, 5:24 i made a slight mistake but continued, 5:37 i stopped because thats when i started to sight read and i forget where on the page it started and i stuffed up, i couldnt be bothered fixing this. And other small mistakes i made that will fade with more practice and memorization. i also known it could be played faster, i realized it was slow when i listened to it.
oh ps: the video stuffs up at the end with the timing. its still watchable
heres the link:


xx Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
January 24, 2006, 04:10:17 PM by drumstix

Hello, all...I recorded this yesterday and would greatly appreciate any feedback you have to offer! 

...it seems that the forum only allows certain filetypes to be uploaded, so I'll post it on my own site:  http://www.lordcharlie.com/pol_op53.wmv

p.s.  my little digital camera (the only recording device I have as of now) seems to ignore any and all attempts at dynamic contrast; I don't know if it's too close to the piano, or what...so I apologize for the poor quality of the recording.

xx Chopin 'Heroic' Polonaise 0p 53
October 19, 2005, 06:32:55 AM by ch0p1n 0wnz u

Hey, im new here, i have been learning piano for a couple of years now, and one of the songs i am learning is the Heroic polonaise in A flat, still got one part of the slow bit at the end to learn, but i just have a question about the repeated octaves in the left hand part, how are you meant to play it so fast and soft, i can play it soft and sort of fast, but it gets to much for my arm to repeat it again, i was watching horowitz dvd him playing polonaise and he doesnt seem to struggle, and he plays it SO FAST! a little to fast but, how can you play it so fast, and soft without your arm feeling like its going to fall off (i have to perform this in 5 days plus another song).

thanks for your help in advance

xx My records:Chopin and Schubert
May 26, 2005, 07:24:55 AM by simaaili

I'm a amateur,glad to hear suggestions:-[

Chopin Polonaise op.53

Schubert piano sonata D.664 Mv.1

Chopin Etude op.25 no.6

xx Which Polonaise?
March 02, 2005, 07:30:37 AM by pigscanfly

I'm just looking for advice on which polonaise I should learn next.

Polonaise Opus 40-1 Military or Polonaise Opus 53 Heroic

There both amazing songs and I can't decide which one I should put my time into.  I was going to go with the easier one first but I'm not sure which one would be easier. 

I believe these songs are in my skill range but I'm not sure.  Could somebody also compare theses Polonaises to F-impromptu and Ballade in G minor because I just finished these two songs.


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