The Hungarian Dances (German: Ungarische Tänze) by Johannes Brahms (WoO 1), are a set of 21 lively dance tunes based mostly on Hungarian themes, completed in 1869.
They vary from about a minute to five minutes in length. They are among Brahms's most popular works, and were certainly the most profitable for him. Each dance has been arranged for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. Brahms originally wrote the version for piano four hands and later arranged the first 10 dances for solo piano.
Only numbers 11, 14 and 16 are entirely original compositions. The better-known Hungarian Dances include No. 1 and 5, the latter which was based on the csárdás by Béla Kéler titled "Bártfai emlék" which Brahms mistakenly thought was a traditional folksong.
The Hungarian Dances bear many resemblances to, and may have influenced, the Slavonic Dances of Antonín Dvořák.
List of Hungarian Dances
- Book 1. (Published in 1869)
- in G minor: Allegro molto
- in D minor: Allegro non assai — Vivace
- in F major: Allegretto
- in F minor (F♯ minor for orchestra): Poco sostenuto — Vivace
- in F♯ minor (G minor for orchestra): Allegro — Vivace
- Book 2. (Published in 1869)
- in D♭ major (D major for orchestra): Vivace
- in A major (F major for orchestra): Allegretto — Vivo
- in A minor: Presto
- in E minor: Allegro ma non troppo
- in E major (F major for orchestra): Presto
- Book 3. (Published in 1880)
- in D minor: Poco andante
- in D minor: Presto
- in D major: Andantino grazioso — Vivace
- in D minor: Un poco andante
- in B♭ major: Allegretto grazioso
- in F minor: Con moto — F major: Presto
- Book 4. (Published in 1880)
- in F♯ minor: Andantino — Vivace
- in D major: Molto vivace
- in B minor: Allegretto
- in E minor: Poco allegretto — Vivace
- in E minor: Vivace — E major: Più presto
Brahms wrote orchestral arrangements for Nos. 1, 3 and 10. Other composers have orchestrated the other dances. These composers include Antonín Dvořák, Andreas Hallén (Nos. 2, 4 and 7), Paul Juon (No. 4), Martin Schmeling (1864–1943) (Nos. 5 to 7), Hans Gál (Nos. 8 and 9), Albert Parlow (de) (Nos. 5, 6 and 11 to 16) and Robert Schollum (de) (Nos. 4, 8 and 9). Dvořák orchestrated the last numbers. More recently, Iván Fischer has orchestrated the complete set.
Brahms's Hungarian Dances were influential in the development of ragtime. See, for example, the role of German-American piano teacher Julius Weiss in ragtime composer Scott Joplin's early life and career.