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.
Probably the most famous is the Minute Waltz in D-flat major of 1847, part of the last set of waltzes Chopin published (Op. 64).
There are thirty-six compositions that are of interest to students of the Chopin waltzes.
Chopin published eight waltzes in his lifetime. A further five were published with posthumous opus numbers in the decade following his death, and since then a further seven have been published, without opus numbers. Of these, two are considered doubtful. This brings the total to eighteen canonic waltzes, although often these are not numbered past the first fourteen.
The eighteen 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, there remain:
- 2 extant waltzes in private hands and unavailable to researchers
- 6 waltzes believed destroyed
- 3 waltzes believed lost
- 5 waltzes of which documentary evidence exists but the MSS are not known to be extant.
List of waltzes by or attributed to Chopin
|1||E-flat major||1831–32||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||1834||1838||Op. 34/2||B.64||Baroness C. d'Ivry|
|4||F major||1838||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||1847||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||1847||1847||Op. 64/2||B.164/2||Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild (= Charlotte de Rothschild)||Used in Les Sylphides and Secret|
|8||A-flat major||1847||1847||Op. 64/3||B.164/3||Countess Katarzyna Branicka (or Bronicka)|
|9||A-flat major||1835 (24 September)||1852||Op. posth. 69/1||B.95||Charlotte de Rothschild, Mme Peruzzi and Maria Wodzińska||L'adieu|
|10||B minor||1829||1852||Op. posth. 69/2||B.35||Wilhelm Kolberg|
|11||G-flat major||1832||1855||Op. posth. 70/1||B.92||Used in Les Sylphides|
|12||F minor/A-flat major||1841 (June)||1855||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||1829 (? 1830–35)||1868||-||B.56||KK IVa/15||P1/15|
|15||E major||1829–30||1871–72||-||B.44||KK IVa/12||P1/12|
|16||A-flat major||1827–30||1902||-||B.21||KK IVa/13||P1/13||Emily Elsner|
|17||E-flat major||1827–30||1902||-||B.46||KK IVa/14||P1/14||Emily Elsner||Spurious|
|18||E-flat major||1840||1955||-||B.133||KK IVb/10||Émile Gaillard||Headed "Sostenuto"; not always classified as a waltz|
|19||A minor||1847–49||1955, 1958||-||B.150||KK IVb/11||P2/11||Unedited edition pub. Paris 1955; ed. Jack Werner 1958|
|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||Mrs Erskine||MS in private hands and unavailable|
|-||B-flat major||1849||-||-||Discovered 1952; in possession of Arthur Hedley|
|-||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|