Ragtime Composition Notes

The Flowers

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OK Rag (Ezequiel Pallejá, 1998). If everything is OK, on with the next step! [Ezequiel Pallejá]

Old George (Hamish Davidson, 2001). I decided before this piece was composed that it was dedicated to George McClellan, in return for his support and encouragement. "Old George" was suposed to be a piano rag... See what happens when you let a tune write itself. I feel that this is my first major success in writing stride, and novelty. The trio really stands out, and you should hear the influence of Fats Waller, Zez Confrey and James P. Johnson. This experiment has allowed me to show my interpretation of a Robin Frost theory. Alex Hassan wrote in the liner notes of "Hot Kumquats and Other Frosty Treats":

"Frost studied for a while with Hollywood film composer, Eric Zeisl, who likely nurtured our man's innate gifts for composition and harmony, including the use of 'thorns' (as Robin so amusingly puts it) in otherwise tonal chords, that actually make them lusher!"

These 'thorns' create a whole new dimension for music, and put many more colours on your palate. I had used thorns before, but "Old George" really exploits them. Listen with an open mind... [Hamish Davidson]

On the Highwire (Donald Ashwander, 1985). Many years had passed since I had been to the circus. I went and was instantly delighted, terrified, and thrilled as I had been during my childhood. One image that lingered was of the single figure in the spotlight climbing higher and higher to the platform where he began his perilous journey. The elegant nonchalance of this artist left me breathless. [Donald Ashwander]

One for the Road (Max Morath, 1983). This contemporary rag by Max Morath was published in 1983 by Edward B. Marks Music Corporation. This piece contains passages with boogie-woogie bass and intinerant rhythms, frequently used by Max Morath in many of his rags.

Oxley College Rag (Paul Copeland, 2000). Oxley College is a place where Paul teaches piano. This year they are celebrating their 21st birthday, so he decided to write a rag for them. Paul also celebrates his 10th year teaching there.

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Copyright © 1996 Oleg Mezjuev.
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