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"Arthur Plays the Blues"
Season/Series: 6
Number in season: 2A
Original Airdate: United States October 1, 2001[1]
Canada January 8, 2002[3]
United Kingdom April 9, 2002[2]
Written by: Catherine Lieuwen
Storyboard by: Jeremy O'Neill
"Best of the Nest"
"Buster's Sweet Success"
Read transcript

"Arthur Plays the Blues" is the first half of the second episode in the sixth season of Arthur. It was later adapted into the book Arthur Plays the Blues.


Arthur's piano teacher retires, mentioning that he will get along great with her replacement. But when Arthur meets the famous — and very strict — Dr. Fugue, he begins to doubt whether to keep up.


Arthur has a fantasy of being a famous concert pianist and playing a difficult concerto, at the end of which he thanks his piano teacher Mrs. Cardigan. Back in the real world, he learns that Mrs. Cardigan is retiring.

Arthur Plays the Blues

Mrs. Cardigan has arranged for Arthur to be taught by Dr. Fugue, a former concert pianist.

At recess the next day, Binky is envious, but he also warns Arthur that Dr. Fugue's lessons are very challenging.

Soon, Arthur has his first lesson at Dr. Fugue's house. Dr. Fugue is able to tell from the state of Arthur's fingers how long he has been playing. He also criticizes Mr. Read’s car horn for being C sharp and his own parakeet for singing too slow. Dr. Fugue makes Arthur play scales for an hour, then admits that he seems to have some talent and gives him Bach’s “Two-Part Invention in F major” as homework, advising him to practice, practice, practice.

At home, Arthur takes out the music. The piece is so dauntingly difficult that he decides to practice later.

Over the next few days, Arthur constantly distracts himself with other activities and soon, there are only two days left before the next lesson. His parents make him practice for an hour with his dad stressing how important it is to make a good impression on his teacher. At first, Arthur distracted by D.W. who is constantly making noise. Then, he falls asleep at the piano, waking up when the hour is over.

At the lesson, Dr. Fugue notices immediately that Arthur has not practiced and fires him.

At first, Arthur is thrilled about not having to practice until his parents find him a new teacher. However, while looking for something to watch on TV, he finds that every show seems to be piano related.

He visits Mrs. Cardigan who tells him that he should win back Dr. Fugue's respect by playing his best, even if it is not perfect.

Back at home, Arthur starts practicing Bach's Invention again. This time he ignores all distractions.

When he goes back to Dr. Fugue, another student has just been fired. Dr. Fugue gives Arthur another chance to play, and although Arthur makes 78 mistakes Dr. Fugue takes him back as a student.







  • This is the first episode to be written by Catherine Lieuwen.
  • The original airing with Justin Bradley doing Arthur's voice has never been released on any home media after the 2003 DVD.

Cultural references

  • Arthur practices Johann Strauss' "The Blue Danube" with Mrs. Cardigan.
  • Binky plays Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in d minor (BWV 565) on his clarinet after talking to Arthur about Dr. Fugue.
  • When Arthur first walks up to Dr. Fugue's house, the general appearance of the house and the silhouette of a woman in an upstairs window are a reference to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
  • Dr. Fugue's parakeet Tosca is named after an opera by Giacomo Puccini.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach's “Two-Part Inventions” are a collection of fifteen short practice pieces for keyboard instruments. Arthur is given the ​Invention No. 8 in F Major, BWV 779. The boy in the music store plays it flawlessly.
  • Yo-Yo Ma is a cellist. He was a guest star in “My Music Rules”.
  • Władziu Valentino Liberace was a classically trained pianist who became a famous entertainer. Liberace was best known for his fancy clothes and flamboyant behavior, both on and off stage.
  • During the montage scene showing Arthur's lack of practicing, Chopin's Étude Op. 10 no. 2 plays.
  • When Arthur falls asleep at the piano, Johannes Brahms' Lullaby plays.
  • The Emperor Concerto is another name for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5.
  • When Arthur is flipping through TV channels, he sees parodies of Casablanca and The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Dr. Fugue mentions Soul Train, a music show focusing on African American music like soul, R&B and hip hop.

Episode connections

  • The events of this episode are later referenced in "The Best Day Ever."
  • The music shop has the sheet music to “Crazy Bus” and to “Mary…” (possibly Moo Cow) on display.
  • In "Arthur Unravels", Dr. Fugue mentions knitting gloves for a student who is also practicing Bach's Invention in F Major.


  • When David honks the car horn, Dr. Fugue comments that it is a C-sharp, but it is actually a G-natural and B-natural simultaneously.

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