Sheet Music: The Little Negro

TitleThe Little Negro
Alternate titlesLe petit nègre
The Little Nigar
Opus numberL. 114
ComposerClaude Debussy (1862–1918)
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyC major
RangeE4–G6
Time signature2/4
Tempo108 BPM
Performance time1:40
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (77 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (809 kB)
Date added2010-11-06
Last updated2010-11-06
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 2.0 (above average)
Categories
20th century, Cakewalk

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Saturday 6 November 2010

Tune of the Day: Le petit nègre

by Claude Debussy, arranged for solo flute

By the first decade of the 20th century, ragtime music was already widely heard in Europe, and many of these songs were in Cakewalk rhythm. The Cakewalk dance is best described as an act of parody, in which, it is supposed, Negro slaves would caricature the haughty manners of their white owners. The winner would be awarded with a prize, normally in the form of a cake.

Debussy's “Le petit nègre” (or “The Little Negro”) followed the enormous popular success of his “Golliwogg's Cakewalk”, the last piece from his suite Children's Corner, and was written and published in 1909. The work was commissioned as a piano tutor called Methode de piano, edited by Theodore Lacke. The intention was to provide aspiring young pianists with a volume of pieces which were equally well calculated to afford modest technical advancement, and to provide delight and musical insight for both players and listeners alike.