19th Century Dance Movements

The 19th century saw the rise in importance of stylized dance movements for the orchestra and solo instruments, especially the piano.  Dances of a national character, such as the "polonaise," "mazurka," and "jota," were set by many composers.  Moreover, general national types -- Hungarian, Spanish, and Slavonic -- formed the bases of many works.  These were usually expanded, idealized concert versions, not social dances.  Sometimes dance movements that symbolized ideas or events, such as "Danse Macabre" by Saint-Saens and Liszt's "Mephisto Waltz," gave Romantic composers the opportunity to use realistic devices to intensify the mood or atmosphere.