Who Wrote Chopsticks?

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This story originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of mental_floss magazine. Subscribe to our print edition here, and our iPad edition here.

“Chopsticks” is probably the world’s best-known waltz (yes, it’s a waltz). The ditty was penned in 1877 by a 16-year-old girl named Euphemia Allen, who called it “The Celebrated Chop Waltz.” Her brother, a music publisher named Mozart Allen (yes, he was named Mozart) helped get the sheet music on store shelves under the pseudonym Arthur de Lulli. The music included instructions to “Play with both hands turned sideways, the little fingers lowest, so that the movement of the hands imitates the chopping from which this waltz gets its name.” So no, the title of the piece has nothing to do with the utensils.

Despite the lasting success of “The Celebrated Chop Waltz,” neither Miss Allen nor her alter ego ever published music again.


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August 21, 2014 - 8:02am
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