strange behaviors

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  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

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Animal Music Monday: Chopin’s “Minute Waltz”

Posted by Richard Conniff on May 2, 2016

This lively little tune by the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) is widely known as “The Minute Waltz” (meaning small waltz, though commonly pronounced to suggest that Chopin meant it to be played that fast).  Chopin himself named it Valse du Petit Chien, “Waltz of the little dog.”

Here’s the story.  He was living in the 1840s with the French author and feminist George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucille Dupin). They were supposedly sitting around one time when her dog, Marquis, began to run in circles, chasing his tail.  Sand then challenged Chopin to write a musical piece capturing that crazed energy and Chopin did so on the spot.

The story may well be apocryphal.

But here’s another tune Chopin wrote about Marquis, the 40-second “Galop Marquis.”


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