Chopsticks (waltz)

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"Chopsticks" (original name "The Celebrated Chop Waltz") is a simple, widely known waltz for the piano. Written in 1877, it is the only published piece by the British composer Euphemia Allen (under the nom de plume Arthur de Lulli).[1] Allen—whose brother, Mozart Allan, was a music publisher—was sixteen when she composed the piece, with arrangements for solo and duet.[2] The title "Chop Waltz" comes from Allen's specification that the melody be played in two-part harmony with both hands held in a vertical orientation, little fingers down and palms facing each other, striking the keys with a chopping motion.[2] The similar "The Coteletten Polka" also was first heard in 1877, with the piano collection Paraphrases elaborating on the theme by 1879.[2]

Tati-tati and Paraphrases[edit]

"Tati-tati"

An equivalent of this rudimentary two-finger piano exercise was known in Russia in duple meter as "tati-tati" or the "Cutlet Polka". This version alternates the notes between the hands, rather than playing them at the same time in harmony.

In 1877, Alexander Borodin's daughter Gania played "The Coteletten Polka", with four bars of music similar to the beginning of de Lulli's work, though there is no hard evidence of a common source between the two pieces.[2] In 1878–1879, César Cui, Anatoly Lyadov, Borodin, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Nikolai Shcherbachov each wrote variations for piano duet on the theme, published together under the title Paraphrases.[3] A supplementary paraphrase by Franz Liszt was later appended to the collection. In Borodin's version, the first four bars begin in a similar way to de Lulli's, but are nevertheless distinct. According to Fuld's book World-Famous Music, no common origins for the "Chop Waltz" and the "Coteletten Polka" have yet been discovered.[2]

In cinema, music and television[edit]

Score, as published in 1877

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Allen, Euphemia (1877). "The Celebrated Chop Waltz": Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  • Fuld, James J. (2000). The Book of World-famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk. Courier Corporation. ISBN 978-0-486-41475-1.
  • Thompson, John Sylvanus. "Chopsticks with Variations": Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  • Various (1879). Paraphrases, by Borodin, Cui, Liadov, Liszt, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Shcherbachov: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project

Further reading[edit]