🦅 SoundEagle in Art, Music and Ragtime ðŸŽµðŸŽ¹ðŸŽ¶

SoundEagle in Playing Music on Keyboard
The Last Rag

The Last Virtue is empty like a hall
The Last Romance shunts lovers
The Last Work is never done at all
The Last Square has no corners
The Last Smile is a lifetime before
The Last Shout comes from whispers
The Last Memory is beyond recall
The Last Rag echoes the golden eras

🎼 🎵 🎹🎹🎹🎹 🎶 🦅

1996 Original Edition

2010 Special Edition

Composed by SoundEagle🦅, The Last Rag comes in two versions as shown above: the 1996 Original Edition and the 2010 Special Edition.

The Last Rag can be performed or listened to as a self-contained work, though it is also the middle movement of the three-movement Second Piano Sonata entitled “The Time Beyond”.

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The Last Rag
Music Scores

Visit the post entitled 🎼🎹—THE—🎹—LAST—🎹—RAG—🎹🎵🎶 to read and comment on the music scores, and to learn about the provenance of the composition.

Ragtime 🎵🎹🎶

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and augmented by Click here to contact SoundEagle SoundEagle🦅 with art, music, videos, documentaries and discussions between friends.
Stylistic Origins Cakewalk, African American folk music, American march music
Cultural Origins 1890s, United States
Typical Instruments Mainly piano, sometimes banjo orchestra, and brass band
Mainstream Popularity 1900s, 1910s and 1970s
Derivative Forms Stride, novelty piano, honky tonk
Fusion Genres
Jazzboogie woogiebluegrass

👁🔎 Second edition cover of “Maple Leaf Rag.” It is one of the most famous rags.

Ragtime (alternatively spelt “rag-time“)[1] is an original musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1897 and 1918.[2] Its main characteristic trait is its syncopated or “ragged” rhythm.[2] It began as dance music in the red-light districts of African American communities in St. Louis and New Orleans years before being published as popular sheet music for piano. Ernest Hogan was an innovator and key pioneer who helped develop the musical genre. Hogan is also credited for coining the term Ragtime.[3][4] Ragtime was also a modification of the march made popular by John Philip Sousa, with additional polyrhythms coming from African music.[5] The ragtime composer Scott Joplin became famous through the publication in 1899 of the “Maple Leaf Rag” and a string of ragtime hits that followed, although he was later forgotten by all but a small, dedicated community of ragtime aficionados until the major ragtime revival in the early 1970s.[6][7] For at least 12 years after its publication, the “Maple Leaf Rag” heavily influenced subsequent ragtime composers with its melody lines, harmonic progressions or metric patterns.[8]

Ragtime fell out of favour as jazz claimed the public’s imagination after 1917, but there have been numerous revivals since the music has been rediscovered. First in the early 1940s many jazz bands began to include ragtime in their repertoire and put out ragtime recordings on 78 rpm records. A more significant revival occurred in the 1950s as a wider variety of ragtime styles of the past were made available on records, and new rags were composed, published, and recorded. In 1971 Joshua Rifkin brought out a compilation of Scott Joplin’s work which was nominated for a Grammy Award.[9] In 1973 The New England Ragtime Ensemble (then a student group called The New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble), recorded “The Red Back Book”, a compilation of some of Scott Joplin’s rags in period orchestrations edited by conservatory president Gunther Schuller. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance of the year and was named Billboards Top Classical Album of 1974. Subsequently the motion picture The Sting brought ragtime to a wide audience with its soundtrack of Joplin tunes. The film’s rendering of Joplin’s 1902 rag “The Entertainer” was a Top 5 hit in 1974.

Ragtime (with Joplin’s work at the forefront) has been cited as an American equivalent of minuets by Mozart, mazurkas by Chopin, or waltzes by Brahms.[10] Ragtime influenced classical composers including Erik Satie, Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky.[11][12]

🎵 🎹🎹 🎶

🎹 Historical Context 🎹

Ragtime originated in African American music in the late 19th century, descending from the jigs and march music played by black bands.[13] By the start of the 20th century it became widely popular throughout North America and was listened and danced to, performed, and written by people of many different subcultures. A distinctly American musical style, ragtime may be considered a synthesis of African syncopation and European classical music, especially the marches made popular by John Philip Sousa.

👁🔎 Joseph Lamb‘s 1916 “The Top Liner Rag” is a classic rag.

Some early piano rags are entitled marches, and “jig” and “rag” were used interchangeably in the mid-1890s.[13] Ragtime was also preceded by its close relative the cakewalk. In 1895, black entertainer Ernest Hogan published two of the earliest sheet music rags, one of which (“All Coons Look Alike to Me”) eventually sold a million copies.[14] As fellow black musician Tom Fletcher said, Hogan was the “first to put on paper the kind of rhythm that was being played by non-reading musicians.”[15] While the song’s success helped introduce the country to ragtime rhythms, its use of racial slurs created a number of derogatory imitation tunes, known as “coon songs” because of their use of extremely racist and stereotypical images of blacks. In Hogan’s later years he admitted shame and a sense of “race betrayal” for the song while also expressing pride in helping bring ragtime to a larger audience.[16]

The emergence of mature ragtime is usually dated to 1897, the year in which several important early rags were published. In 1899, Scott Joplin‘s “Maple Leaf Rag” was published, which became a great hit and demonstrated more depth and sophistication than earlier ragtime. Ragtime was one of the main influences on the early development of jazz (along with the blues). Some artists, like Jelly Roll Morton, were present and performed both ragtime and jazz styles during the period the two genres overlapped. Jazz largely surpassed ragtime in mainstream popularity in the early 1920s, although ragtime compositions continue to be written up to the present, and periodic revivals of popular interest in ragtime occurred in the 1950s and the 1970s.

The heyday of ragtime predated the widespread availability of sound recording. Like classical music, and unlike jazz, classical ragtime was and is primarily a written tradition, being distributed in sheet music rather than through recordings or by imitation of live performances. Ragtime music was also distributed via piano rolls for player pianos. A folk ragtime tradition also existed before and during the period of classical ragtime (a designation largely created by Scott Joplin’s publisher John Stillwell Stark), manifesting itself mostly through string bands, banjo and mandolin clubs (which experienced a burst of popularity during the early 20th Century), and the like.

A form known as novelty piano (or novelty ragtime) emerged as the traditional rag was fading in popularity. Where traditional ragtime depended on amateur pianists and sheet music sales, the novelty rag took advantage of new advances in piano-roll technology and the phonograph record to permit a more complex, pyrotechnic, performance-oriented style of rag to be heard. Chief among the novelty rag composers is Zez Confrey, whose “Kitten on the Keys” popularized the style in 1921.

Ragtime also served as the roots for stride piano, a more improvisational piano style popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Elements of ragtime found their way into much of the American popular music of the early 20th century. It also played a central role in the development of the musical style later referred to as Piedmont blues; indeed, much of the music played by such artists of the genre as Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Elizabeth Cotten, and Etta Baker, could be referred to as “ragtime guitar.”[17]

Although most ragtime was composed for piano, transcriptions for other instruments and ensembles are common, notably including Gunther Schuller‘s arrangements of Joplin’s rags. Ragtime guitar continued to be popular into the 1930s, usually in the form of songs accompanied by skilled guitar work. Numerous records emanated from several labels, performed by Blind Blake, Blind Boy Fuller, Lemon Jefferson, and others. Occasionally ragtime was scored for ensembles, (particularly dance bands and brass bands) similar to those of James Reese Europe, or as songs like those written by Irving Berlin. Joplin had long-standing ambitions for the synthesizing for the worlds of ragtime and opera, to which end the opera Treemonisha was written. However its first performance, poorly staged with Joplin accompanying on the piano, was “disastrous” and it was never to be fully performed again in Joplin’s lifetime.[18] In fact the score was lost for decades, then rediscovered in 1970, with a fully orchestrated and staged performance in 1972.[19] An earlier opera by Joplin, A Guest of Honour, has been lost.[20]

🎹 Musical Form 🎹

👁🔎 The first page of “The Easy Winners” by Scott Joplin, showing ragtime rhythms and syncopated melodies.

The rag was a modification of the march made popular by John Philip Sousa, with additional polyrhythms coming from African music.[5] It was usually notated in 2/4 or 4/4 time with a predominant left hand pattern of bass notes on strong beats (beats 1 and 3) and chords on weak beats (beats 2 and 4) accompanying a syncopated melody in the right hand. According to some sources the name “ragtime” may come from the “ragged or syncopated rhythm” of the right hand.[2] A rag written in 3/4 time is a “ragtime waltz.”

Ragtime is not a “time” (metre) in the same sense that march time is 2/4 metre and waltz time is 3/4 metre; it is rather a musical genre that uses an effect that can be applied to any metre. The defining characteristic of ragtime music is a specific type of syncopation in which melodic accents occur between metrical beats. This results in a melody that seems to be avoiding some metrical beats of the accompaniment by emphasizing notes that either anticipate or follow the beat (“a rhythmic base of metric affirmation, and a melody of metric denial”[21]). The ultimate (and intended) effect on the listener is actually to accentuate the beat, thereby inducing the listener to move to the music. Scott Joplin, the composer/pianist known as the “King of Ragtime”, called the effect “weird and intoxicating”. He also used the term “swing” in describing how to play ragtime music: “Play slowly until you catch the swing…”.[22] The name swing later came to be applied to an early genre of jazz that developed from ragtime. Converting a non-ragtime piece of music into ragtime by changing the time values of melody notes is known as “ragging” the piece. Original ragtime pieces usually contain several distinct themes, four being the most common number. These themes were typically 16 bars, each theme divided into periods of four four-bar phrases and arranged in patterns of repeats and reprises. Typical patterns were AABBACCC′, AABBACCDD and AABBCCA, with the first two strains in the tonic key and the following strains in the subdominant. Sometimes rags would include introductions of four bars or bridges, between themes, of anywhere between four and 24 bars.[2]

🎹 Styles of Ragtime 🎹

Shoe Tickler Rag, cover of the music sheet for a song from 1911 by Wilbur Campbell.

Ragtime pieces came in a number of different styles during the years of its popularity and appeared under a number of different descriptive names. It is related to several earlier styles of music, has close ties with later styles of music, and was associated with a few musical “fads” of the period such as the foxtrot. Many of the terms associated with ragtime have inexact definitions, and are defined differently by different experts; the definitions are muddled further by the fact that publishers often labelled pieces for the fad of the moment rather than the true style of the composition. There is even disagreement about the term “ragtime” itself; experts such as David Jasen and Trebor Tichenor choose to exclude ragtime songs from the definition but include novelty piano and stride piano (a modern perspective), while Edward A. Berlin includes ragtime songs and excludes the later styles (which is closer to how ragtime was viewed originally). The terms below should not be considered exact, but merely an attempt to pin down the general meaning of the concept.

  • Cakewalk – A pre-ragtime dance form popular until about 1904. The music is intended to be representative of an African-American dance contest in which the prize is a cake. Many early rags are cakewalks.
  • Characteristic march – A march incorporating idiomatic touches (such as syncopation) supposedly characteristic of the race of their subject, which is usually African-Americans. Many early rags are characteristic marches.
  • Two-step – A pre-ragtime dance form popular until about 1911. A large number of rags are two-steps.
  • Slow drag – Another dance form associated with early ragtime. A modest number of rags are slow drags.
  • Coon song – A pre-ragtime vocal form popular until about 1901. A song with crude, racist lyrics often sung by white performers in blackface. Gradually died out in favour of the ragtime song. Strongly associated with ragtime in its day, it is one of the things that gave ragtime a bad name.
  • Ragtime song – The vocal form of ragtime, more generic in theme than the coon song. Though this was the form of music most commonly considered “ragtime” in its day, many people today prefer to put it in the “popular music” category. Irving Berlin was the most commercially successful composer of ragtime songs, and his “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911) was the single most widely performed and recorded piece of this sort, even though it contains virtually no ragtime syncopation. Gene Greene was a famous singer in this style.
  • Folk ragtime – A name often used to describe ragtime that originated from small towns or assembled from folk strains, or at least sounded as if they did. Folk rags often have unusual chromatic features typical of composers with non-standard training.
  • Classic rag – A name used to describe the Missouri-style ragtime popularized by Scott Joplin, James Scott, and others.
  • Fox-trot – A dance fad which began in 1913. Fox-trots contain a dotted-note rhythm different from that of ragtime, but which nonetheless was incorporated into many late rags.
  • Novelty piano – A piano composition emphasizing speed and complexity which emerged after World War I. It is almost exclusively the domain of white composers.
  • Stride piano – A style of piano which emerged after World War I, developed by and dominated by black East coast pianists (James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith). Together with novelty piano, it may be considered a successor to ragtime, but is not considered by all to be “genuine” ragtime. Johnson composed the song that is arguably most associated with the Roaring Twenties, “Charleston.” A recording of Johnson playing the song appears on the compact disc, James P. Johnson: Harlem Stride Piano (Jazz Archives No. 111, EPM, Paris, 1997). Johnson’s recorded version has a ragtime flavor.

👁🔎 James Scott‘s 1904 “On the Pike”, which refers to the midway of the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904.

🎹 Ragtime Revivals 🎹

In the early 1940s many jazz bands began to include ragtime in their repertoire, and as early as 1936 78 rpm records of Joplin’s compositions were produced.[23] Old numbers written for piano were rescored for jazz instruments by jazz musicians, which gave the old style a new sound. The most famous recording of this period is Pee Wee Hunt‘s version of Euday L. Bowman‘s “Twelfth Street Rag.”

A more significant revival occurred in the 1950s. A wider variety of ragtime styles of the past were made available on records, and new rags were composed, published, and recorded. Much of the ragtime recorded in this period is presented in a light-hearted novelty style, looked to with nostalgia as the product of a supposedly more innocent time. A number of popular recordings featured “prepared pianos”, playing rags on pianos with tacks on the hammers and the instrument deliberately somewhat out of tune, supposedly to simulate the sound of a piano in an old honky tonk.

Three events brought forward a different kind of ragtime revival in the 1970s. First, pianist Joshua Rifkin brought out a compilation of Scott Joplin’s work, Scott Joplin: Piano Rags, on Nonesuch Records, which was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Classical Performance – Instrumental Soloist(s) without Orchestra” category[9] in 1971. This recording reintroduced Joplin’s music to the public in the manner the composer had intended, not as a nostalgic stereotype but as serious, respectable music. Second, the New York Public Library released a two-volume set of “The Collected Works of Scott Joplin”, which renewed interest in Joplin among musicians and prompted new stagings of Joplin’s opera Treemonisha.[19][24] Next came the release and Grammy Award for The New England Ragtime Ensemble‘s recording of Joplin’s Red Back Book. Finally, with the release of the motion picture The Sting in 1973, which had a Marvin Hamlisch soundtrack of Joplin tunes originally edited by Gunther Schuller, ragtime was brought to a wide audience. Hamlisch’s rendering of Joplin’s 1902 rag “The Entertainer” won an Academy Award,[25] and was an American Top 40 hit in 1974, reaching #3 on 18 May.[26]

In 1998, an adaption of E.L. Doctorow’s historic novel, Ragtime was produced on Broadway. With music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, the show featured several rags as well as songs in other musical genres.

In modern times, younger musicians have again begun to find ragtime, and incorporate it into their musical repertoires. Such acts include Jay Chou, The Kitchen Syncopators, Inkwell Rhythm Makers, Curtains for you, The Gallus Brothers and the not-quite as young Baby Gramps or Bob Milne.

🎹 Ragtime Composers 🎹

Scott Joplin

By far the most famous ragtime composer[note 1] was Scott Joplin. Joseph Lamb and James Scott are, together with Joplin, acknowledged as the three most sophisticated ragtime composers. Other leading ragtime composers include Jelly Roll Morton, Eubie Blake, Charles L. Johnson, Tom Turpin, May Aufderheide, Mike Bernard, George Botsford, Zez Confrey, Ben Harney, Luckey Roberts, James P. Johnson, Paul Sarebresole and Wilbur Sweatman.

Modern ragtime composers include William Bolcom, Trebor Tichenor, David Thomas Roberts, Max Morath and Reginald Robinson.

In addition, classical composers were influenced by the form with, for example, Igor Stravinsky‘s solo piano work Piano-Rag-Music from 1919, and Claude Debussy‘s Golliwogg’s Cakewalk (from the 1908 Piano Suite Children’s Corner), and General Lavine (from his Preludes).[11] Stravinsky also included a ragtime in his theater piece L’histoire du soldat (1918).[27]

🎹 Notes 🎹

  1. ^ Specifically, the composer whose worldwide reputation rested exclusively on ragtime works. Certain famous composers such as Irving Berlin and Claude Debussy dabbled in the genre of ragtime but largely made their reputations in other repertoires.

🎹 References 🎹

  1. ^ Perlman, Itzhak. “THE EASY WINNERS and other rag-time music of Scott Joplin”. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  2. ^ a b c d Berlin, Edward. “Ragtime”. The Grove Music Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  3. ^ Rudi Blesh, Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, Introduction to Scott Joplin Complete Piano Works, New York Public Library, 1981, page xvii
  4. ^ Hugh Brogan, The Penguin History of the USA, 2nd Edition, 1999, ISBN 978-0-14-025255-2, page 415.
  5. ^ a b Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, pp. xv-xvi.
  6. ^ Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xiii
  7. ^ Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xviii
  8. ^ Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xxiii.
  9. ^ a b Past Winner Database, “1971 14th Grammy Awards.” Accessed Feb. 19, 2007.
  10. ^ H. Wiley Hitchcock, “Stereo Review”, 1971, page 84, cited in Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xiv.
  11. ^ a b Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xiii.
  12. ^ Dickinson, Peter (1 January 1987). “Reviews of Books”. Music and Letters 68 (1): 78–79. doi:10.1093/ml/68.1.78.
  13. ^ a b van
    der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents
    of Twentieth-Century Popular Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-316121-4, p.63
  14. ^ Loring White, Ragging It: Getting Ragtime into History (and Some History into Ragtime) iUniverse, 2005. xiv, 419 pp. ISBN 0-595-34042-3, page 99
  15. ^ Ragging It, page 100
  16. ^ Dvorak to Duke Ellington: A Conductor Explores America’s Music and Its African American Roots by Maurice Peress, Oxford University Press, 2003, page 39.
  17. ^ Bastin, Bruce. “Truckin’ My Blues Away: East Coast Piedmont Styles.” in Nothing But the Blues: The Music and the Musicians. Ed. Lawrence Cohn. New York: Abbeville Press, 1993.
  18. ^ Scott, William B., and Rutkoff, Peter M. New York Modern: The Arts and the City Johns Hopkins Univ. Press (2001), p37
  19. ^ a b Peterson, Bernard L. (1993). A century of musicals in black and white. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 357. ISBN 0-313-26657-3. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
  20. ^ “Classical Net”. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
  21. ^ Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xv.
  22. ^ “School of Ragtime” (1908) in Scott Joplin Collected Piano Works, Edited by Vera Brodsky Lawrence, The New York Public Library, 1971, ISBN 0-87104-242-8, page 284.
  23. ^ Jasen, David A, Discography of 78 rpm Records of Joplin Works, Scott Joplin Complete Piano Works, New York Public Library, (1981), pp.319-320
  24. ^ Ping-Robbins, Nancy R. (1998). Scott Joplin: a guide to research. p. 289. ISBN 0-8240-8399-7. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
  25. ^ “Entertainment Awards Database – LA Times”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  26. ^ “Charis Music Group, compilation of cue sheets from the American Top 40 radio Show”. Retrieved 2009-09-05.

🎹 Further Reading 🎹

  • Berlin, E.A. (1980). Ragtime: a musical and cultural history. University of California Press.
  • Blesh, R., and Janis, H. (1971). They all played ragtime, 4th ed.. Oak Publications.
  • Jasen, D.A., and Tichenor, T.J. (1980). Rags and ragtime. Dover.
  • Schafer, W.J., and Riedel, J. (1973). The art of ragtime: form and meaning of an original black American art. Louisiana State University Press.
  • Waldo, Terry. (2009). This is Ragtime. Jazz at Lincoln Center Library Editions.

🎹 External Links 🎹

🎹 Discussions Between Friends 🎹

  • Jeremy, thank you for informing us of your love for your place and music of origin. I would like to add that Scott Joplin and his contemporary ragtime composers and their ragtime music all belong to the pre-Jazz and pre-swing era. Also, ragtime is usually or mostly fully written out on music manuscript, and owes more to classical music than to Jazz or swing, neither of which had yet existed at the time, not until roughly 1917 for swing and much later for jazz (in the 1930s), as far as I could ascertain.
    • I will have to disagree with you a bit on ragtime. I have seen ragtime included in the jazz category (I took a jazz history course once which included it). In fairness, I have seen jazz treated expansively to include early twentieth century forms originating in New Orleans at the turn of last century.I am not a music historian so I admit that my definition of jazz is admittedly large but that is my point. When I think of American jazz I think as much of its roots and the musical forms which evolved into (and have been adapted by) jazz. When I think of jazz I don’t distinguish it neatly from its sources, the spirituals, the blues, gospel music and also from various “folk” sources in the American South but also from Eastern Europe (klezmer). I see it as part of the American “experiment.” Perhaps I could be a little clearer in my classification of jazz, but I see it as being an amalgam of musics. The beauty of it, for me, is also in its history. It gives voice to groups of people and to regions that were not being given proper attention or credit before.
      • Sloppiness and mistakes abound in history, including music history and musicology. Rag(time) really should not be included or classified in the Jazz category, technically, historically, chronologically, musically, and musicologically speaking, even though it has often been taught as part of the early history of Jazz. It is one of the musical precursors of swing and jazz. Moreover, ragtime is not (even) supposed to be played with a(ny) swing feel (using the (approximated) triplet division). As I mentioned, ragtime is pre-Jazz and pre-swing.
      • Well, I will definitely take you at your word. I am deeply moved by American jazz and many of the musical forms that are often culturally associated with it even if they are distinct and have their own distinct history, technique and development.
      • Even my using the word “precursor” could be a misnomer. Ragtime has its own (musical and cultural) autonomy, evolutionary arch and development timeline. In the era of ragtime by Scott Joplin and his contemporaries, Jazz and swing did not exist at all. Ragtime did not steadily “evolve” into swing or jazz, and it has its own well-defined compositional structures with themes and patterns of repeats and reprises. Much later on, the whole Harlem Stride piano school and pianists such as Lucky Roberts, J. P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Earl Hines and Art Tatum did not “define” ragtime, for they came afterwards, when the ragtime of Scott Joplin and his contemporaries had already long gone out of favour. From Wikipedia:

        “Stride piano – A style of piano which emerged after World War I, developed by and dominated by black East coast pianists (James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith). Together with novelty piano, it may be considered a successor to ragtime, but is not considered by all to be “genuine” ragtime.

        As for swing, the rag does not swing, as I mentioned earlier. From Wiki:

        Scott Joplin, the composer/pianist known as the “King of Ragtime”, called the effect “weird and intoxicating.” He also used the term “swing” in describing how to play ragtime music: “Play slowly until you catch the swing…”. The name swing later came to be applied to an early genre of jazz that developed from ragtime.

        Jeremy, some people may not be aware that Scott Joplin himself emphasised playing ragtime slowly, much slower than what some people are or have been accustomed to. Also the “swing” does not refer to swinging the quavers or to swinging interpretation of the quavers, which distorts the straight timing and equal division of the quavers within a crochet beat. Rather, it refers to the lilting quality of the ragtime akin to a gentle march, slow drag, two-step, cakewalk and other dance forms during or before the era of Scott Joplin and his contemporaries.

        Furthermore, the ragtime is a genre that has been used by musicians in many ways (including but not limited to jazz musicians) freely and in an unrestrained manner. In the classical sphere, even Stravinsky and Debussy used it (as in the latter’s Golliwog’s Cake Walk, which has a slow and satirically romantic middle section). These composers took the basic elements, then adapted, appropriated or changed what element(s) they liked whilst cleverly retaining some connections with the source genre that is ragtime. These are rag-inspired compositions, not swing-inspired or jazz-inspired.

🎹 Promoting the Authentic Ragtime 🎹

  • Hello Sound Rhythm! I meant only to identify the Skipped beats and polyrhythms of which has defined the original ragtime used in talkie film beginnings. The closest I have come with Ragtime and classical music is here:

    You and Your music are Awesome! Happy Friday!

    • Dear America On Coffee

      Hello again! There are indeed good indications that you have been ostensibly contradicting yourself by claiming at first that 🎼🎹—THE—🎹—LAST—🎹—RAG—🎹🎵🎶 “does not have any characteristics of ragtime” without giving any qualification or explanation, and then seemingly relented by restricting the scope of your initial claim to just “the Skipped beats and polyrhythms”, which are faring not much better in advancing the case.

      Anyway, SoundEagle🦅 is delighted that you found a rather clever arrangement of Beethoven Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (WoO 59, Bia 515) for solo piano, commonly known as “Für Elise”, which was composed in 27 April 1810 but only published in 1867, forty years after the composer’s death in 1827. Please note that the arranger is Ethan Uslan, not Stephen Artner.

      There is another version of Ethan Uslan’s arrangement of “Für Elise” for piano duet with four hands as follows.

      Ethan Uslan’s arrangement is somewhat playful and tongue-in-cheek, though the result is not a true Ragtime in the strict sense, for the piece is played in a tempo exceeding the usual range for Ragtime. In other words, the slower tempo of Ragtime does not easily lend itself to superficial bravado and showmanship often adopted by pianists who tend to play much too fast to dazzle the audience and to show off their chops. Even something as technically demanding as 🎼🎹—THE—🎹—LAST—🎹—RAG—🎹🎵🎶 may appear or sound rather deceptively to be nonvirtuosic.

      More importantly, Ragtime has its own well-defined compositional structures with themes and patterns of repeats and reprises. Much later on, the whole Harlem Stride piano school and pianists such as Lucky Roberts, J P Johnson, Fats Waller, Earl Hines and Art Tatum did not “define” Ragtime, for they came afterwards, when the Ragtime of Scott Joplin and his contemporaries had already long gone out of favour.

      Yet, contrary to staying true to Ragtime, there is the inclusion in Ethan Uslan’s arrangement the genre of boogie-woogie (a style of blues played on the piano with a strong, fast beat characterized by a regular left-hand bass figure) on the one hand, and stride piano (whose players’ left hands often leap greater distances on the keyboard in a wider range of tempos with a much greater emphasis on improvisation) on the other. The inclusion or intrusion of boogie-woogie and stride piano is definitely not in keeping with the well-established tradition and true spirit of Ragtime.

      Furthermore, Ragtime is not supposed to be played with a(ny) swing feel (using the (approximated) triplet division). The “swing” associated with Ragtime does not refer to swinging the quavers or to swinging interpretation of the quavers, which distorts the straight timing and equal division of the quavers within a crochet beat. Rather, it refers to the lilting quality of the Ragtime akin to a gentle march, slow drag, two-step, cakewalk and other dance forms during or before the era of Scott Joplin and his contemporaries.

      In contrast to Ethan Uslan’s pseudo-Ragtime, here is a fine piece of authentic Ragtime called “Last Rag” by William Bolcom, who at the time of composing it in 1974, intended the piece to be the very last that he would ever produce in the genre, but later relented and created many more exquisite ones, much to the delight of advanced aficionados.


26 comments on “🦅 SoundEagle in Art, Music and Ragtime ðŸŽµðŸŽ¹ðŸŽ¶

  1. Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely excellent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a great web site.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a post! I definitely learned a lot about Ragtime! My favorite; ain’t misbehavin!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi there! Thank you very much for your compliment and for reading and being interested in this post. SoundEagle hopes that you will also read and find other posts and pages to be useful and beneficial to what you do. Have you had a chance to listen to SoundEagle‘s original compositions? Click Music (in post format) or Music (in page format) to learn more about SoundEagle‘s art, music and philosophical ethos.

    Merry Christmas and happy new year to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your appreciation and happy new year to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SoundEagle!!! I just sampled Ragtime on your website!!!!!!!! Loved especially Terry Parrish playing “Ginger Snap Rag”!!! I’m crazy in love with with what you’ve posted! I love all music…choral is my thing. Classical…goes without saying But ragtime to jazz & blues is “it” for me! From the turn of the century, 20th, through the ’20’s, ’30’s, & ’40’s!!! On this recipe, there is something about the flavor of the canned peas that makes this dish! It has nothing to do with what kind of peas you like. So give the recipe a chance as is!!! So nice to meet you through Horty Rexach & you “Likes” on my comments……a tribute to you & me picking that up! Phil

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wishing you a Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello and you certainly have wonderful posts! All the best and my greetings,

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is an outstanding compilation and enhancement of material available online, providing a detailed account of the nature, history, variants and affinities of Ragtime. Some of the information under “musical form” was a little beyomd me, given my ignorance of music theory; however, the material and links provided, together with the numerous videos of performances, would constitute a very useful reference for anyone seeking information about this musical genre. The design and presentation of the post is, as usual, of a very high standard.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. By the Gods and medium sized frogs this is some post! I’m on moby usage just now, so everything is long and thin on the page but even so, quite fascinating. I’ll be back when I’m at the puter of coms.

    -Esme Cloud very impressed indeed

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I was first exposed to ragtime in the movie “The Sting”. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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