The Rags Thread

Piano, Fortepiano and Harpsichord Music
jellyroll
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Re: The Rags Thread

Post by jellyroll » Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:19 pm

Hello Frank.
I enjoy reading about your trips to the Library Of Congress, it's on my bucket list as well. You posted a piano roll of Unique Rag, I found I had a copy of the score. Here it is
O' Brian, Robert J.- Unique Rag.pdf
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Rob C.

Re: The Rags Thread

Post by Rob C. » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:34 pm

Thomas, George W. - Fish Tail Dance - 1925 (Piano Roll Transcription).pdf
Thomas, George W. - Fish Tail Dance - 1925 [midi of the Piano Roll Transcription].mid
Hello!

First of all, Nathan, thanks for identifying two more of the unknown rags!! Great work!! It's so nice to have ragtime minds working together to solve ragtime mysteries. "Beedle-Um-Bo," yes, absolutely! And, I do think that's "New Hippodrome" by Herman Schultz, too! Though I can see why you hesitated, it begins in a different key and there are differences here and there. (What do you think, Frank?) Also, Nathan, thanks for sharing your fine transcription of "Dockstader"! I'm a fan of Adam's playing!

Before I comment on the remaining unknown rag rolls, is there anyone else out there who can identify more?

And, Jellyroll, thanks for reposting my scan of "Unique Rag." apparently several people missed it the first time around, or are new to the site. It's a rare piece and so worthy of being preserved so the more people who have it, the better!

I'm posting my piano roll transcription of George W. Thomas' "Fish Tail Dance" on three separate threads so it will be distributed widely (for more information on the piece and the composer, see the "Piano Roll Transcriptions" thread). I did transcribe some of the piano roll embellishments, especially in the LH, but feel free to play this your own way. Those embellishments are there just for fun.

Enjoy!

Rob
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jellyroll
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Re: The Rags Thread

Post by jellyroll » Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:24 pm

To Rob C.
I should, in the future, check previous postings to make sure this doesn't happen again. An honest mistake. I apologize if I "stepped on any toes".

Rob C.

Re: The Rags Thread

Post by Rob C. » Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:18 am

No problem, Jellyroll, if you missed it, clearly others did too! And, as I said, my goal is to put this rare music into as many piano playing hands as possible, and your posting put it into more hands. Better to post something again than not to post at all :D

Best,

Rob

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fhimpsl
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Re: The Rags Thread

Post by fhimpsl » Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:01 pm

Here are two of the unknown rags, revealed via some good luck. The "Blue Grass Echoes" by Holthaus has an extremely catchy trio section, which is reminiscent of the early Cole & Johnson songs (particularly "Mandy, Let Me Be Your Beau"). And it would figure that the genius George L. Cobb was responsible for the beautiful "Idylia." Hen's teeth to be sure!

Enjoy,

Frank
Blue Grass Echoes (A.A. Holthaus) - Electrova 44N 429-1.mid
Blue Grass Echoes - March and Two-Step (A.A. Holthaus) - Autopiano65N 1376.mid
Idylia - Novelette Intermezzo (George L. Cobb, 1907) - LINKRX-Mod 1504-15.mid
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Connections - Harlem Strut and Red Fox Trot

Post by fhimpsl » Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:25 pm

In the past I've noted phrasing similarities with two of James P. Johnson's warhorse ragtime-stride piano pieces, "Carolina Shout" and "Harlem Strut," which can be traced to ragtime numbers published in the teens. Parts of "Carolina Shout" strongly resemble sections within Will Vodery's "Carolina Fox Trot," which was originally published as "Carolina Romp." The sheet music for the Vodery tune is readily available on many on-line library websites. There is an obscure 1917 rag by rag/song writer Albert Gumble entitled "Red Fox Trot," and the trio section from this piece shares similarities to the trio of Johnson's "Harlem Strut." James P. does a much better job with the melodic idea. Knowing JPJ's amazing talent for virtually anything musical, and his strong presence in the NY/NJ music scene from ca. 1914 onwards, I tend to believe that "Harlem Strut" was something he was actively performing years prior to the 1921 issuance of both his QRS piano roll and Black Swan 78rpm recording. His playing might well have influenced Gumble in "Red Fox Trot," but of course we'll never know for certain as JPJ was a gifted sight reader as well and undoubtedly did much "song-plugging" work back in the day as well. It is quite likely that Vodery's "Carolina Fox Trot" was his inspiration for the "Shout," but he took the idea to such lengths as to ultimately define stride piano as a new idiom within piano ragtime.

I'm attaching the score for Gumble's "Red Fox Trot" as well as a midi file of James P. Johnson's QRS roll of "Harlem Strut" for comparison.

All Best,

Frank
Gumble, Albert - Red Fox Trot.pdf
Harlem Strut (Johnson) - pbc Johnson P. Johnson - QRS 101014 (T90-100 copy).mid
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Rob C.

Re: The Rags Thread

Post by Rob C. » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:34 am

Hello Frank,

Great work determining the titles of 2 more unknown rag rolls! What were the fortuitous circumstances that led to their identification? :)

As promised, here is my commentary on each unknown rag (now, some ARE known!) of the last batch you posted. They're in the order posted:

Unknown Folk Rag - Electrova 44N 1177-4
Debbie and I really like this one. The 4th strain is especially folksy, the first strain and trio are folksy too, but not quite as much as the fourth--still nice though. Another hen's tooth, and we're glad to have heard it!

Unknown Indian Intermezzo (great one) - LINKRX-Mod 1504-15
Now identified as Idylia (1907), by George Cobb. A wonderful piece throughout. Cobb had a gift for melody and was so prolific! I'd never heard or seen this piece until you posted it. Always enjoy hearing rare gems.

Unknown Rag - WURL MandPian 770-3
This grabbed me from the opening bar. Such a cool piece--definitely a keeper. Love the 2nd strain (and it sounds familiar to me)! Those bass runs reminded me of one of the four LOC rag manuscripts I have. None of them were ever published but all are worthy of preservation. I typeset them a few years ago. They're all good rags, but the particular one I'm thinking of, "Raccoon Rag" (1916) is my personal favorite (Debbie's too). I searched for it on this site and it's never been posted on PIanophilia, so I'll post it either tonight or tomorrow.

Unknown Rag - WURL MandPian 774-2
When you listen to the opening strain of this piece you get the feeling that this is building up to a good second strain and you're not disappointed. I also liked the songlike trio. I suspect this is an older piece as there was a long bridge between the first time the trio's played and its reprise. That seemed to be a common practice pre-1906.

Unknown Rag - LINKAMC 283-2
You already know we both love this one!!! The first strain is our favorite--it's rhythm in the roll is almost exactly halfway between triplets and eighth-quarter-eighth syncopation (in 4/4 time). The left hand really swings too. It's not an immortal work, but we love it nonetheless. We've only grown fonder of the second two strains the more we've listened to them. You thought you recognized the first strain, so maybe someday you'll be able to identify it, but, even if we never discover the title, we're so glad it's been saved from the scrap heap! BTW, what does LINKAMC stand for? (WURL stands for Wurlitzer, right?)

Unknown Rag - Ramey A-Mod 1-2
A nice "classic" rag, possibly from the late 0s'. Thanks for posting it!

Unknown Blues-Rag - WURL MandPian 774-1
Debbie and I thought this was quite nice. We liked all its strains equally well! (That's not always true, there are some pieces that have a STANDOUT strain, while the other strains fall short of that high bar.) This reminded us that we really need to listen to, and play, more blues!

Unknown Rag (Familiar) - Ramey A-Mod 2-4
We now know this is "Medic Rag." I've always really liked this rag! Had it memorized many years ago, which is why it eventually jogged my memory . I love the second strain and the complex syncopations in the trio!

Unknown Rag (Familiar) - Ramey A-Mod 2-8
Nice upbeat tune which also seems familiar to me, too!

Unknown Rag (Good) - Ramey A-Mod 1-9
Now identified as "Beedle-Um-Bo" by the talented Charles Leslie Johnson. The first strain is very catchy, singable, but the rag really gets started in the second strain, which at a slow tempo is haunting in places.

Unknown Rag (Good) - Ramey A-Mod 1-10
Excellent tune! i can imagine this being very commercially successful, and, who knows, perhaps it was! If not it probably suffered the same downfall as so many great rags: poor distribution.

Thanks for sharing all these, Frank! We appreciate it so much!

Very best,

Rob

Rob C.

Re: The Rags Thread

Post by Rob C. » Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:21 am

Bianco, Emilio - Raccoon Rag [manuscript] (1916).pdf
Bianco, Emilio - Raccoon Rag [typeset score] (1916).pdf
Bianco, Emilio - Raccoon Rag [midi] (1916).mid
Hi everyone,

Today's posting, "Raccoon Rag" only survives because of a manuscript in the Library of Congress. It was composed by a man who lived in Forest Park, Illinois, which is located just outside of Chicago, Illinois. Forest Park has always been known for its many cemeteries, but from 1907-1922, it had an amusement park which had the tallest roller coaster in the country. A fire devastated the park in 1922 and it never recovered. However, when this rag was composed, the park was alive and well, and, this rag captures the atmosphere of an early 20th century amusement park perfectly!!

Hope you enjoy it!

Best to all,

Rob

PS: The errors I corrected in the score are noted in the tagging of the midi.
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Rob C.

Red Fox Trot-part 2

Post by Rob C. » Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:00 am

Gumble, Albert - Red Fox Trot -1917 [clearer score, with cover].pdf
Gumble , Albert - Red Fox Trot - 1917 [midi by John Cowles].mid
Hi Frank,

Thanks for pointing out the connection between Red Fox Trot's trio and Harlem Strut's trio! Those opening bars sound so similar. The trio of RFT was definitely my favorite strain. It sounded more like it belonged to the 20s rather than the late teens. It would be interesting to know which trio came first and whether the likeness was conscious or unconscious. Loved the piano roll as it's one I'd never heard before. James P. Johnson is simply amazing--a musical phenomenon!!

Just this summer I found that Baylor University in Texas had posted a copy of RFT which I think is rather rare. Normally, I'd just provide a link to the music, but I had some trouble downloading a copy. For certain pieces at Baylor (RFT being one) the only way to download a quality scan of each individual page is to click on print, which, rather than activating your printer, creates a popup screen with a downloadable copy of the full page.

Baylor has some really rare rags such as: De Winnin' Coon, Fine and Dandy, Daffy-Down-Dilly (perhaps not as rare as the first two, but I'd never seen a copy) and several others. Here's a link to their digital sheet music collection: http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cd ... on/fa-spnc. If anyone has any difficulty and would like me to post any pieces from the collection, I'd be happy to.

For those few who like having midis (I like them too ;) )I'm posting a midi of RFT made by John Cowles a few years back.

Very best,

Rob
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Last edited by Rob C. on Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rob C.

Perfection Rag (1913)

Post by Rob C. » Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:30 am

Hoxworth, C. E. - Perfection Rag - 1913 [typeset)].pdf
Hoxworth, C. E. - Perfection Rag - 1913 [manuscript].pdf
Hoxworth, C. E. - Perfection Rag - 1913 [midi].mid
Hi again Everyone,

This is the third of the Library of Congress rag manuscripts I have copies of (the second was posted in the School of Syncopation thread). Perfection Rag is very nice and quite polished (perhaps the latter is why the word "perfection" was chosen as the first word of it's title). For those who only download the typeset version, the placement of the all caps words (words written with all capital letters) above and inside the first bar is how they were written and placed in the manuscript. Corrections to the manuscript are detailed in the tagging of the midi.

This piece was received by the copyright office on Aug. 18, 1913. According to the July 9, 1913 edition of the local newspaper ("Oelwein Daily Register") C. E. Hoxworth (male) was spending a "short vacation" with his mother, Mrs. T. P. Emmons. Later, in the August 20, 1913, edition of the same newspaper he had been visiting his mother for "several weeks" and had "returned to work with a theatrical company." This rag was probably written during that vacation.

Best to all,

Rob
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