La fille aux cheveux de lin is the eighth piece in the composer’s first book of Préludes, written around January 1910. The title is translated roughly to “The Girl with the Sandy Blond Hair”. The piece is originally in the key of G♭ major. (This arrangement transposes the main theme to F major.)
The piece, named after the poem by Leconte de Lisle, is known for its musical simplicity, which was different from Debussy’s style at the time. It was published in April of 1910 and premiered in June of 1910. The prelude is one of Debussy’s most recorded pieces, both in its original version and in subsequent various arrangements.
Music theorists believe that Debussy’s successful portrayal of the emotions in the poem was tied in with the musical simplicity of the prelude—a style that deviated from his more complex works at the time and brought back the simpler harmonies that he had utilized in his earlier musical compositions.
Key: F major
Mood: simple, romantic
Pedagogy: rubato, pedal, fingering