Ragtime Composition Notes

The Flowers

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Wall Street Rag (Scott Joplin, 1909). A lovely and unusual Joplin rag, "Wall Street Rag" was published in 1909. One of its unusual points is the fact that it does away with the usual repeat of the first section and, thus, is played in an AA/BB/CC/DD format. Another unusual feature is the fact that Joplin added descriptive headings for each of the sections.

Waterloo Rag (Donald Ashwander, 1972). Friends in England invited me for a weekend in the country. I left from Waterloo Station. All that morning I had been humming a little ragtime tune. As the train pulled out of the station and began to pick up speed I realized the click-i-ty-clack of the wheels fit the rhythm of the little tune. I jotted it down in my manuscript book and at odd moments, over the weekend, added to it. By the time I was on the train returning to London, several themes existed, and when I arrived back at Waterloo Station, "The Waterloo Rag" had almost arrived too. [Donald Ashwander]

Whitewater (Brian Keenan, 1995). My most deeply-rooted folk composition, "Whitewater" is also an affirmative declaration of the pride I take in my Upper Midwestern surroundings. To me Minnesota means 10 000 lakes, the Iron Range, the rolling Mississippi; not plastic domed stadiums, megamalls,and the like. "Whitewater" named after the literal translation of the word Minnesota, is an appreciation as well as a statement like a brisk walk through a state park or around a like. [Brian Keenan]

Wistful Thoughts (Mateusz Watroba, 1993). Composed in June, 1993. The background for this piece goes back to 1986, when I met a girl named Edith, and I fell in love with her, as madly as a fifteen-year-old boy can. Unfortunately, there was no reciprocation, but my hope for change held me straight until that day in June, 1993, when she invited me to her wedding - with another man. [Mateusz Watroba]

Wonderful Remembrances - Op. 76 (Christoph Schmetterer, 2002). I wrote this rag to commemorate the extremely great time I had at the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento in November 2001. The rag is composed within the traditional form (Intro AABBCCA) but it is harmonically extremely ambitious. The introduction starts in the key of C minor and modulates to Eb major. The A-strain starts in that key (Eb) and modulates to G major after 8 measures. After a return to Eb major a daring modulation goes to C major. The basic melodic idea of the B-strain (in the key of C major) is rather simple, but it is elaborated in an interesting way (which has some similarities to Joseph Lamb's style). The first measure of the C-strain has a "Stoptime"-character. This strain is written in the key of F major. It modulates to A minor in the middle. Another interesting modulation leads back to the A-strain for the end of the rag. One of my friends called my modulations sneaky and that's exactly the effect I intended. It was my goal to use interesting and unusual chords that don't disturb a flowing and beautiful melody. [Christoph Schmetterer]

Wrong Rag, The (Glenn Jenks, 1987). The Wrong Rag was written for David Wright who was a very good friend during the eighties. He died of lung cancer, and I spoke with him over the phone as he was passing away. I was deeply touched to know he was listening to my music when he took his final breath. I was sad not to have been present in person.

I intentionally tried to foul him up with the syncopation in the second strain, but after a few false starts he finally got it! The title is a pun on the opposite of his name. [Glenn Jenks]

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Copyright © 1996 Oleg Mezjuev.
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