Ragtime Composition Notes

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Madame X - One Step (Theodor Pinet, 1913). Written by the Swedish "Boston King", this one-step was published in 1913 by Abraham Lundquists förlag in Stockholm. The cover shows an elegant lady dressed all in black, wearing a long dress, a mask, a headgear with two plumes, and long gloves stretching over her elbows. She holds a black fan in her hand, and has a big red rose attached to her waist.

Makin' You Nervous - An Eclectic Piano Rag (Dénes Dosztán, 2003). "Makin' You Nervous" was composed in February of 2003, and is dedicated to Oleg Mezjuev. It also has an important subtitle: "An Eclectic Piano Rag". Its eclecticism is what probably will make the listener nervous. I've mixed a few different ragtime styles into this work, taken from various sources of influence. We may find, in particular, the styles of Tamás Ittzés, Fats Waller, James P. Johnson and Scott Joplin. This piece is also a tribute to these ragtime/stride composers, whom I like the most.

"Makin' You Nervous" may seem very complex, strange and difficult to play, but it's completely symmetric in its structure. [Dénes Dosztán]

Manly Ferry Rag (Paul Copeland, 2000). Manly Ferry leaves from Circular Quay (which is just next door to the famous Sydney Opera House) in Sydney and travels to Manly across the Sydney Harbour. Although there are many ferry rides from Circular Quay, the Manly ferry ride is one of the longest trips. The ferry travels very close to the Heads -- and the trip at this time can get quite rough. Manly is a favourite spot for tourists, boasting a great surf beach. Most of the ferries that leave Circular Quay have recently been updgraded. [Paul Copeland]

Maria Antonieta Pons (David Thomas Roberts, 1986-87). This composition is an excellent example of the new musical style called Terra Verde. It is named for a Cuban dancer, actress and singer figure who made films primarily in Mexico in the 1940's and 50's. For some years David Thomas Roberts made this piece his number one choice for closing concerts.

Marilyn - A Ragtime Reverie (Colm O'Brien, 1990). "Marilyn" is a nice rag written in the classic ragtime style. It has been recorded twice - by Colm O'Brien on his live CD entitled "Scott Joplin, Gershwin, Fats Waller & All That", and by Brian Keenan on the "Hidden Falls" CD.

Mediados de Junio (Ezequiel Pallejá, 1999). Composed on June 14, 1999, when winter is about to begin in Argentina. I think that there is a mix of happiness and sadness here, but the first clearly wins. "Mediados" means in the middle of the month, something like June 15, precisely when I got the idea to compose this rag. [Ezequiel Pallejá]

Me Melican Man - A Pigtail Rag (A. J. Weidt, 1913). This rag was written for guitar in 1913 by A. J. Weidt and first appeared in the magazine "Cadenza" which was published in Boston, Massachusetts between 1894 and 1924. Mr. Weidt is said to have contributed a number of pieces to this magazine including one entitled "Cold Molasses Rag".

Metamorphic Rag (Rag metamórfico) (Ezequiel Pallejá, 1999). The original idea for this rag derived from my very first piano lessons as a child. Those exercises went through a metamorphosis to ragtime. [Ezequiel Pallejá]

Minor Key Rag (Rag en Tono Menor) (Ezequiel Pallejá, 1998). As a child, while learning to play piano, I used to begin my sessions by practicing major and minor scales, in different keys. I remember I did not like the minor tonalities, as they sounded sad to me. This rag reflects my present opposite feeling about this matter, as I think that minor key is perfect to express happiness... at least within the ragtime environment. [Ezequiel Pallejá]

Minor Rag (in F sharp minor) (Oskar Janner, ca 1996). Minor Rag means just a rag in minor key. The reason I wrote it was to test writing a ragtime with main theme in minor key and a second theme in major key. [Oscar Janner]

Missing Happiness (Mateusz Watroba, 1994). It was May 1994, and the happiness was still missing. I was still free and lonely, green with envy when I saw loving couples in parks and streets. And, again, I tried hard to made the last strain, at least, sound optimistically. [Mateusz Watroba]

Mississippi River Blvd. - A Musical Escape (Brian Keenan, 1993). The lyrical sounds and romantic approaches of the composers Roberts, Rummel, and Isbitz ingrained into me for the previous 16 months all came together in a flurry of compositional activity over a cold, dry weekend in 1993, resulting in "Mississippi River Blvd.. Offering a scenic view of the grand, majestic river, this road has provided for me many moments of contemplation since the late 80's, and remains St. Paul's best source for quiet reflection (I subtitled the piece "A Musical Escape"). David Thomas Roberts' comment on this piece being "first-rate contemporary ragtime" upon his first hearing was a satisfying affirmation of my artistic objectives. [Brian Keenan]

Mobile Carnival Rag-Tango (Donald Ashwander, 1966). With "Mobile Carnival Rag-Tango" I had thought to write a piece reflecting nothing more than the frantic gaiety of Mardi Gras. To my surprise, however, the piece began to turn very dark. Instead of trying to force it back on the track of my original intention, I decided to go on with the turn it had taken, and we ended up in a place that was completely unpremedated. [Donald Ashwander]

Moody Night (Mateusz Watroba, 1992). It was composed in December, 1992, when I had a few days free from classes. I visited my parents, staying with them for four days. I recalled the days when I did not have to leave my parents at all, when we were an inseparable happy family - so the outline of the composition is so optimistic. [Mateusz Watroba]

Multicultural Rag (Hamish Davidson, 2001). In this composition, I have irresponsibly fused many stray genres together. I have attempted to explore James P. Johnson's stride, and the emerging genre of Terra Verde in one composition (Irwin Schwartz played an important role in helping me to understand the stride style, and Oleg Mezjuev is responsible for helping me understand Terra Verde). However, I have 'borrowed' various techniques from many of my heros. The chromaticism in the introduction should be associated with Jelly Roll Morton, whilst the descending bass patterns in the A Part recall Eubie Blake's "Charleston Rag". The A Part of this 'experiment' contains elements of the stride style, and I have mischieviously combined odd and even patterns. I am especially happy with the way this part makes the piano grunt. The B Part urges one to get up and tango due to the Terra Verde patterns in the left hand. Above all, the trio is my favourite section, because the piano itself dances (as opposed to causing human movement). The title reflects the multicultural nature of the music, but it also celebrates Australia's diverse culture. [Hamish Davidson]

My Little Black Sweetheart - Two-Step (Emil Juel-Fredriksen, 1911). This two-step was written in 1911 by the Danish composer Emil Juel-Fredriksen. He was born on April 14, 1873 in Copenhagen, where he was musically educated under Eugen Hildach and where he also worked as an organist (since 1901). He lived in Roedovre p. Valby. He also worked under many pseudonyms, e.g. Hugo Dariel, Jack Dower, Urban Fobin, Pietro Marinella, Enrico Moreno, Thomas Nordstroem, Victor Paolo, Ivan Petrovitsch, "Stanley", Hugo Viard and James Wood. His musical output comprises: works for ballet, Scandinavian orchestral suites, piano pieces and many songs.

Myer Music Bowl Rag (Paul Copeland, 2000). Myer Music Bowl is one of Australia's cultural landmarks. This rag is structured as INTRO AA BB CC AA. Section A is fairly classic in nature. At the 20th bar (repeat bar) there is a pause with the right hand coming in on the fourth beat (two sixteenth notes). An ear-catching fermata is used. Section B is almost a study in ascending scales. The scales have a few "blue" notes that may be unexpected. Section C has an interesting bar where there are eighth-note triplets played with the eighth notes in the left hand. Section A finished the piece. [Paul Copeland]

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