GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => The Jazz Lounge => Topic started by: schnittkease on March 26, 2018, 10:33:04 AM

Title: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: schnittkease on March 26, 2018, 10:33:04 AM
I know, not jazz per se, but an important predecessor of it. Regarded by some as the first distinctly American form of music.

I've been getting to know ragtime over the past couple months - not just the "Big Three," but some popular songs as well. So far Gussie L. Davis with his tearjerkers haven't disappointed, and a few pre-1922 Irving Berlin hits are pleasant. Not into any particular singer(s) at the moment, just composers and their respective works.

As I'm still learning, I thought it would be a decent idea to set up this thread as a place to discuss ragtime. When I learn of new pieces that I like especially I will post them here.

Oh, and let's try to stay away from "coon songs."   
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: San Antone on March 26, 2018, 10:35:34 AM
Love ragtime.  I've got a couple of books on it (history, major figures) that I haven't read much in so far, but it ties in with my interest in early jazz.

Looking forward to a discussion and hearing about your journal through the music.

 8)
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: schnittkease on March 27, 2018, 09:53:27 AM
Love ragtime.  I've got a couple of books on it (history, major figures) that I haven't read much in so far, but it ties in with my interest in early jazz.

Looking forward to a discussion and hearing about your journal through the music.

Glad to hear it!
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: schnittkease on March 27, 2018, 10:20:56 AM
One of my recent discoveries is Cataract Rag (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBFxW0ercM4) by Robert Hampton (http://www.perfessorbill.com/comps/rhampton.shtml). In many places it seems to blend ragtime in classical - take the flowing arpeggiated passages, for example. Although the composer seems to have had only three published works, this is definitely one of the more substantial rags out there.

Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: torut on March 31, 2018, 09:00:18 PM
One of my recent discoveries is Cataract Rag (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBFxW0ercM4) by Robert Hampton (http://www.perfessorbill.com/comps/rhampton.shtml). In many places it seems to blend ragtime in classical - take the flowing arpeggiated passages, for example. Although the composer seems to have had only three published works, this is definitely one of the more substantial rags out there.

This is very good and interesting, thank you. That passages sound like a part of piano work by a Romantic composer.

On the youtube page, I found a rag composition by the pianist, Aaron Robinson, called Bluet Rag (The New England Ragtime Suite II), a beautiful piece. According to cdbaby, it has been called one of the "best contemporary rags ever written".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1RBj04YPUg

Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: schnittkease on April 01, 2018, 03:45:14 PM
This is very good and interesting, thank you. That passages sound like a part of piano work by a Romantic composer.

It does, doesn't it? The uploader calls it Lisztian.

On the youtube page, I found a rag composition by the pianist, Aaron Robinson, called Bluet Rag (The New England Ragtime Suite II), a beautiful piece. According to cdbaby, it has been called one of the "best contemporary rags ever written".

Wow, this is very nice! I put the album on my wishlist; Robinson's interpretations are superb across the board.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: torut on April 08, 2018, 08:53:03 AM
I like Robinson's playing. Very lively but not too bouncy. His recording of Max Morath's ragtime is also very good. Morath started composing rags in 1950's. Lyrical and sensitive, without losing the uplifting feeling of rag.

I've been interested in contemporary rags. William Bolcom's piano rags played by John Murphy is probably the most repeatedly listened album in the last few months. Three Ghost Rags may be the most famous one, but there are lots of wonderful compositions.

Raggin' Rudi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgP3jaHHaQA

Last Rag from Three Popular Rags
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeYOs28y4ko

Another excellent contemporary rags by John Musto. Unfortunatelly, only 2 of them have been recorded.

Regrets
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8cGMjuFt4o

In Stride
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzqqKqCVMA8

Are there good modern / contemporary rag recordings? It is difficult to find them, but it seems there are composers who are still writing rags.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: schnittkease on April 08, 2018, 09:15:25 AM
Not a question for me to answer. I have yet to explore Bolcom's rags, but I know Kats-Chernin has written a few.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: torut on April 10, 2018, 09:07:53 PM
Not a question for me to answer. I have yet to explore Bolcom's rags, but I know Kats-Chernin has written a few.

I didn't know about Kats-Chernin. I listened to Russian Rag, which seemed her most famous rag. A fine, melancholic piece. Thank you. The album Ragtime & Blue looks nice.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: torut on April 16, 2018, 06:10:41 PM
I listened to Kats-Chernin's Ragtime & Blue. The album includes rags and non-rag works, played by solo piano or piano violin duo. The overall mood is rather monotonous, and violin makes it too romantic (for my taste), but I liked the solo piano rags. I think ragtime's rhythm and syncopation save the music from indulging in too much sentimentality.

I am also looking for a good recording of Joplin's piano rolls. Some samples at Amazon and Google Play do not sound good. The audio quality is bad, and the playing is sloppy. (The instrument's issue?) However, there are good recordings uploaded at youtube. Good sound, steady tempo, spirited performance. I don't know which album to choose.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: schnittkease on April 18, 2018, 05:24:37 PM
I'm interested in Joplin's piano rolls as well.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: schnittkease on August 24, 2018, 04:16:13 AM
Hope to order a few Archeophone discs in the next few days.  I'm eyeing the Billy Murray anthology.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: torut on August 24, 2018, 06:31:15 PM
I've been listening to Folkways ragtime piano recordings. There are really nice collections from early days to mid 20th c. Early Ragtime Piano (1913-1930) and Late Ragtime Piano (1930s-1950s) are good compilations including works of many composers.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: torut on August 24, 2018, 08:06:22 PM
I'm interested in Joplin's piano rolls as well.

Biograph's The Greatest Ragtime of the Century includes Joplin's piano-roll recordings of 3 works: Maple Leaf Rag, Weeping Willow Rag and Something Doing. The sound quality is good. The tempo is a bit slow compared with most of late performers, but the playing is vivid. The other tracks (Johnson, Blake, Morton, etc.) are also excellent.

Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: king ubu on August 27, 2018, 09:08:26 PM
I'd assume this can be found in the 1$ bins in the US:

(https://img.discogs.com/AS5_Cat1APCOYyLcOwgn-Mq4zio=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-1809433-1444247784-6271.jpeg.jpg)

Good stuff - and the real stuff, too!

And if you want to place it in context and read thought-provoking stuff about it all, I highly recommend Allen Lowe's four volume "That Devilin' Tune" (WHRA, four boxes of 9 CDs each, with expansive liners) - Vol. 1 has the early stuff (late 19c into the 20s):

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_1080/MI0000/617/MI0000617673.jpg)(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/251/MI0001251387.jpg)

Not sure they can still be found, but they're worth hunting for!
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: torut on September 08, 2018, 04:21:44 PM
Volume 2-4 of That Devilin' Tune are available for download at Google Play ($9.49 for each volume). Vol. 2 (1927-34) has some rag tunes. There is no liner notes, but I found a book of the same name by Allen Lowe. (Same contents?) Looks interesting.
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: king ubu on September 10, 2018, 08:57:21 AM
Volume 2-4 of That Devilin' Tune are available for download at Google Play ($9.49 for each volume). Vol. 2 (1927-34) has some rag tunes. There is no liner notes, but I found a book of the same name by Allen Lowe. (Same contents?) Looks interesting.
I think the book is the same but don't know for sure ... don't have it as I have the four boxes with booklets  :)
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 10, 2018, 09:30:03 AM
I know, not jazz per se, but an important predecessor of it. Regarded by some as the first distinctly American form of music.

I've been getting to know ragtime over the past couple months - not just the "Big Three," but some popular songs as well. So far Gussie L. Davis with his tearjerkers haven't disappointed, and a few pre-1922 Irving Berlin hits are pleasant. Not into any particular singer(s) at the moment, just composers and their respective works.

As I'm still learning, I thought it would be a decent idea to set up this thread as a place to discuss ragtime. When I learn of new pieces that I like especially I will post them here.

Oh, and let's try to stay away from "coon songs."

The first distinctly American music would be Minstrelsy from the mid-1800s including Stephen Foster

https://www.youtube.com/v/rxW8z56piFk

There is a great discussion of Minstrelsy by Rhiannon Giddens beginning at about 2:00 in the below video

https://www.youtube.com/v/N7SWUCpHme8
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: king ubu on September 10, 2018, 09:45:52 AM
You may forget that America had music going on long before pale-faced long-nosed folks with weird beliefs were driven out of yurp and started their slaughtering (there's people arguing that the oldest forms of blues - the ones heard in recordings by Robert Johnson and others - are actually based on traditional chanting rhythms used by natives) - music that has been brought down to us cannot be reconstructed (no matter if HIP or not) I know, but still, I don't like that type of sentences ("the first originary ...") - none us were there (I think  ;) )
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: schnittkease on September 10, 2018, 01:40:53 PM
The first distinctly American music would be Minstrelsy from the mid-1800s including Stephen Foster

My statement above is definitely exaggerated. I assume that by "Minstrelsy" you refer to (blackface) minstrel songs, which isn't exactly a new form of music as it is a tradition. There was also some blurring of lines around the turn of the century (i.e. compositions with the principal characteristic of ragtime -- syncopation -- could interchangeably be called minstrel songs because of their use in such shows).
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 10, 2018, 05:22:41 PM
My statement above is definitely exaggerated. I assume that by "Minstrelsy" you refer to (blackface) minstrel songs, which isn't exactly a new form of music as it is a tradition. There was also some blurring of lines around the turn of the century (i.e. compositions with the principal characteristic of ragtime -- syncopation -- could interchangeably be called minstrel songs because of their use in such shows).

It was a new form of music and the earliest written examples of the fusion of African and British folk traditions.  Several early banjo methods came out in the 1850s that collected and notated music that was being played both in Minstrel shows and by slaves and freedmen.  Its the foundation of ragtime and most all american popular music that followed
Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: Rosalba on January 07, 2021, 08:21:42 AM
Great thread! I don't know all that much about ragtime, but I do love to listen to it. Thanks for all the links! 

Pig Ankle Rag is enjoying a vogue at present among hobby musicians here in Yorkshire. It seems that 'The first strain of the tune is based on a ragtime piece called "Pig Ankles," composed by M.E. Williams and published in 1905 (described as "A Grotesque Intermezzo")'.
https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Pig_Ankle_Rag_(1)#:~:text=The%20first%20strain%20of%20the,of%20the%20Memphis%20Jug%20Bands.

Pig Ankles, 1905.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfmhE_msLJQ

Pig Ankle Strut, 1928:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0ntq5iJuGI

Pig Ankle Rag:
This version is disgustingly short of pep, but shows the music of the tune popular at the moment:

A little brighter! :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX_UtSezn_0&feature=emb_title
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K62S77rCn0

Title: Re: The Ragtime Parlor
Post by: Trazom H Cab on February 14, 2021, 09:25:27 AM
There is a similar form called "cakewalk" that started around 1877 and reached the heights of its popularity in the 1890s but gradually fell out in the first decade of the 20th century.  The best I can tell, cakewalk differed from ragtime in that the beats are all aligned at the start of each bar with minimal syncopation working its way in until the next bar when everything resets, as it were.   Ragtime syncopation continues throughout a piece and frequently straddles across bars.  Others say that cakewalk and ragtime are not really related and they may be right but today, we tend to lump them together.  Cakewalk was also the name of a dance and the music may have been written for it.  The dance was invented by black slaves.  They would don their Sunday finery (virtually always hand-me-downs from the master's family) and couples would strut ostentatiously in the barnyard as a dance competition.  The best dancing couple would win a huge coconut topping cake.  It was so huge, though, that everybody would help eat it.  Whites watched these dances and, for some reason, thought it was an authentic African dance (the slaves were actually poking fun at the way white people danced) and they started to do it too.  But the late 1800s, it had become a dance craze that also accompanied ragtime and then passed into early jazz.  My favorite cakewalk piece is by Sadie Koninsky from about 1897 when she was only 17--"Eli Green's Cakewalk":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L758otevsh8&ab_channel=RagtimeDorianHenry
Eli Green's Cakewalk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqpINmqxlsc&ab_channel=JiveSwing.Com
Cakewalk dancing.  Later dances such as the Lindy Hop evolved from cakewalk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD3Ybme_cdc&ab_channel=adamgswanson
Movie scene with cakewalk dancing.  The musical accompaniment is "At a Georgia Camp Meeting."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLR2ZI0evgs&ab_channel=RagtimeDorianHenry
At a Georgia Camp Meeting by Kerry Mills.  A very famous piece in the 1890s.  Mills was one of three of the best-known cakewalk composers--ironically, all were white: Mills, Abe Holzmann and J. Bodewalt Lampe.  Mills was from Ann Arbor, Michigan and spent a great deal of time in Detroit, which was a hotbed of ragtime and cakewalk, but his publishing concern was located in New York--F. A. Mills, which was his real name--Frederick Allen Mills.