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Chopsticks (music)

For a dierent piece of piano music often called

Chopsticks in the UK, see Der Flohwalzer (the
Flea Waltz).

In the 1946 William Wyler lm The Best Years of Our

Lives, a story chronicling the diculties facing returning servicemen from overseas, the famous song composer
Hoagy Carmichael performs a duet of Chopsticks with
Harold Russell, a World War II Navy veteran who lost
both of his hands in combat. He played the simple piece
(including variations) with Hoagy taking the lower part.
Mr. Russells hooks that served as hands seemingly did
not deter him from delivering a rendering of the tune,
complete with a nal glissando up the keyboard.

"Chopsticks" (original name "The Celebrated Chop

Waltz") is a simple, widely-known waltz for the piano. It
was written in 1877 by the British composer Euphemia
Allen under the pseudonym Arthur de Lulli.[1] Allen,
whose brother was a music publisher, was supposedly
only sixteen when she composed the piece, with arrangements for solo and duet. The title Chop Waltz comes from
Allens specication that the melody be played in two-part
harmony with both hands held in a vertical orientation,
little ngers down and palms facing each other, striking
the keys with a chopping motion.

The opening notes of Chopsticks are often utilized in

lm and TV productions to illustrate a characters relative
lack of ability in playing the piano (example: The Beauty
Queen episode of My Living Doll).

In the 1955 Billy Wilder lm The Seven Year Itch, Tom

An equivalent of this rudimentary two-nger piano ex- Ewell played this together with Marilyn Monroe and tried
ercise was known in Russia in duple meter as tati-tati to kiss her, only to fail.
or the Cutlet Polka". This version alternates the notes
The Celebrated Chop Waltz is sometimes confused with
between the hands, as follows
Der Flohwalzer (the Flea Waltz), which in the UK is also
known by the name Chopsticks.
In Sesame Street, the lyrics were added where a music
video showed people eating food with chopsticks while
the music was used.
The melody is the basis of Christmas Chopsticks,
recorded by Guy Lombardo (1952) and Bobby Vinton
rather than playing them at the same time in harmony. (1964).
A group of Russian composersAlexander Borodin,
Csar Cui, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Anatoly
Lyadovcollaboratively composed three-hand piano
1 See also
variations on this theme for Borodins daughter Gania.
(Modest Mussorgsky did not participate, thinking that the
Heart and Soul (1938 song)
composition would be meaningless.) The original edition
of this collection dates from 1879. The second edition
was published the following year (1880), under the title
Margo Guryan, The Chopsticks Variations (2009
Paraphrases: 24 Variations et 15 petits pices sur le thme
favori et oblig. Franz Liszt was thrilled with this volume
and composed a short tribute for piano solo to be inserted
Blinded by the Light; the Manfred Manns Earth
before Borodins Polka. Later editions of the work saw it
Band version of this song contains Chopsticks
grow from 15 to 17 other pieces, including a contribution
from Nikolai Shcherbachov when it was reissued in 1893.
Sunday Morning, a hit by The Bolshoi, used a misplayed Chopsticks on its coda.
Chopsticks was used as the introductory music to Edgar
Kennedy's series of short comedies made at the RKO Studios, from 1931 until his death in 1948.

2 References

American composer and educator John Sylvanus Thompson published a set of variations on Chopsticks in 1941.
The rst three Pooch the Pup cartoons used Chopsticks
as their opening music.

[1] The Celebrated Chop Waltz. IMSLP. Retrieved 201005-15.

External links
Paraphrases, by Borodin, Cui, Liadov, Liszt,
Rimsky-Korsakov, and Shcherbachov: Scores at the
International Music Score Library Project


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