Page:The music of Bohemia.djvu/34

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a small Bohemian place. The schoolmaster of that little town, happening to witness the performance by the girl of the dance, which she had contrived merely for her own amusement, wrote down the tune as she sang it while dancing. The new dance soon found admirers, and in the year 1835 it made its way into Prague, the Bohemian metropolis, where it received the name Polka, probably on account of the half step occurring in the dance, for the word—půlka—designates 'the half.' Four years later, in 1839, this tune, which had now become a great favorite in Prague, was carried to Vienna. The Polka now became rapidly known throughout Austria. In 1840 it was danced for the first time at the Odeon in Paris, by Raab, a dancing-master from Prague. Here it found so much favor that it was introduced with astonishing rapidity into the most elegant and fashionable dancing salons and private balls of Paris. From France it spread over all Europe, and even through North America. Celebrated composers wrote new tunes to it."