Waltz (music)

music genre and type of musical composition, performed in triple meter, often written in ¾ time

Waltz music is written in 3/4 time (three beats per bar). The music is both dance music and art music. The Strauss family were perhaps the most famous of all waltz composers: notably Johann Strauss I, and Johann Strauss II – the composer of the famous The Blue Danube.

A section from Johann Strauss' Waltz from Die Fledermaus

Waltzes typically have one chord per measure, and the accompaniment style particularly associated with the waltz is (as seen in the example to the right) to play the root of the chord on the first beat, the upper notes on the second and third beats.

The origins of the dance are in late 18th century Germany, probably from a folk dance called the Lander. Today the music is danced in two forms, the Viennese waltz and the English or Slow waltz (now often called the International waltz). The choreography of these modern forms is different from the original dance.[1] There are also a number of ballets which feature waltz music.


  1. Franks A.H. 1963. Social dance: a short history. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.