Tune of the Day: Polonaise and Double
The polonaise is a stately, slow dance of Polish origin in 3/4 time. Its name is French for “Polish”. Often, the polonaise employed repeated rhythmic figures, as Bach does here with many dotted rhythms in each measure. The sixteenth notes in these dotted rhythms are typically played very short, so that the dotted eight notes almost sound as double-dotted.
The term “double” referred to a type of variation, usually composed mostly of embellishments. In this case however, the double is the barest movement, in terms of scoring, in the whole Suite. The double is followed by a da capo indication, and the polonaise is heard once more, this time without repeats.