Der Flohwalzer

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The "Flea Waltz" (German: Der Flohwalzer) is a simple piano piece, often one of the first learned:

A simple arrangement of the "Flea Waltz" in G-flat major

It is known all over the world. According to an article by Hiromi Oketani in the Osaka Shoin Women's College Annual for 1994,[1] it is known in Japan as Neko Funjatta (ねこふんじゃった, I Stepped on the Cat), in Spain as La Chocolatera, in the Netherlands as Vlooienmars (Flea March), in Belgium as Valse de Puce (Flea Waltz), in Russia as Sobachiy Val's (Собачий Вальс, Dog Waltz), in Poland as Kotlety (Cutlet), in Bulgaria as Koteshki Marsh (Cat March), in Hungary as Szamárinduló (Donkey March), and in Majorca as Polca de los Tontos (Fools' Polka). In Mexico, it is called Los Changuitos (The Little Monkeys),[citation needed] in Finland Kissanpolkka (Cat's Polka), in the Czech Republic "Prasečí valčík" (Pig Waltz), in Sweden Kalle Johansson and in Slovakia "Somársky pochod" (Donkey March). In China, it is called “跳蚤圆舞曲” (Flea Waltz). In the United Kingdom, the melody is known as Chopsticks, while in the US that name refers to another melody. The piece is in the key of F-sharp, or G-flat. Most of its notes are played on black keys.

While the German name suggests a waltz, the piece is not one, as it has a time signature in duple meter. A waltz is always in triple meter, with a time signature such as 3/4 or 3/8. The 2/4 time signature of this particular piece suggests a polka, but it can also be played as a march.

The composer is unknown. A book by Eric Baumann attributes the piece to Ferdinand Loh, but this is obviously a joke ("F. Loh" = Floh, “flea” in German).

An elaborate variation on this piece, “Lesson One”, was a hit in 1962 for Russ Conway.

Swedish songwriter Thore Skogman used the piece as the basis for his 1962 song Kalle Johansson (which has since become the Swedish name for the melody in general), featuring lyrics about a man named Kalle Johansson, who gets in a love affair that involves him, his sister, and two of their neighbors.

The song is also one of the demo songs known as "Chopsticks" on the Yamaha PSS-14 and PSS-15 keyboard that was made in 1997.

In the third installment of the Japanese video game series Danganronpa, it is featured as the theme of the first execution in the game.


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hitomi Oketani. "Neko Funjatta, the Well-Known Piano Piece: The Circumstances of Its Composition," Shoin Women's College Annual 31 (1994), pp. 161–170.

See also[edit]