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#1446119 - 05/29/10 03:00 PM a question concerning ragtime tempo
al-mahed Offline
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Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
Hello, I have a question concerning this time signature : Two Step. I made the same question on ABF but seems that no one there is able to answer until now. So, sorry for duplicate the post!

I came across a fairly unknown ragtime piece from Arthur Marshall, a Scott Joplin's colaborator in two of his ragtime pieces.

Well, I noticed this tempo mark : two step. I imagine it is something near to a moderato time because the introduction is marked as moderato. I cannot say whether it is more or less faster than an average moderato ( 80 ~ 90 BPM).

He's the link to the score:

http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/cgi-bin/sheetmusic.pl?RagKinklets&Rag&2




Edited by al-mahed (05/29/10 03:01 PM)
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#1446124 - 05/29/10 03:08 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: al-mahed]
Priidik Offline
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Registered: 05/28/10
Posts: 19
Loc: Estonia
ragtimes are relatively slow

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#1446125 - 05/29/10 03:11 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Priidik]
al-mahed Offline
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Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
Originally Posted By: Priidik
ragtimes are relatively slow


so?
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#1446177 - 05/29/10 05:01 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: al-mahed]
RayE Offline
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Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 163
Loc: Rochester, NY, USA
A Two Step is slightly slower than other Rags but we don't know an exact metronome marking. Easy Winners is a two step and I like to play that about 104 BPM, but that's my personal preference, I've heard it done faster by others.
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#1446199 - 05/29/10 05:35 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: RayE]
al-mahed Offline
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Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
Originally Posted By: RayE
A Two Step is slightly slower than other Rags but we don't know an exact metronome marking. Easy Winners is a two step and I like to play that about 104 BPM, but that's my personal preference, I've heard it done faster by others.


Tank you Ray!

The only piano version of this piece on youtube is this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NgsVACWgOQ

It is slower than 100 bpm, moderato tempo (and it is using pedal, so I don't know about the intention of fidelity of the performer since the is no pedal marks on the original score).

I like this rag slow, it brings up a nostalgic mood because the harmony with the use of the pedal, but I don't know if it is "correct"...
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#1446559 - 05/30/10 10:48 AM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: al-mahed]
David T Offline
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Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 52
Loc: central Kentucky
I'd like to think there's no one correct tempo. True, ragtime is "relatively slow," or, as Joplin says, "should never be played fast." But relative to what, and how fast is fast?

Ragtime generally is happy music, so a brisk tempo suits it best, but even if I were in a bordello where there were other, more intense, distractions, I wouldn't want to hear an evening of music played at the same tempo for hours on end. Each piece has its own character and demands its own treatment.

Performing is a whole lot more than doing the best you can to follow the composer's intentions, tempo-wise or otherwise. True, sometimes that may be the best way to get a piece across, but your duty as a performer is also to be true to yourself. If you are convinced by your own playing, it will carry conviction to the listener.

David
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#1446562 - 05/30/10 11:15 AM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: David T]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: David T
I'd like to think there's no one correct tempo. True, ragtime is "relatively slow," or, as Joplin says, "should never be played fast." But relative to what, and how fast is fast?David
I think Joplin's statement has been misinterpreted by many amateurs or conveniently used especially by beginners. I've read that Jopin only said this because the prevailing tempos used by performers tended to be ultra fast. More importantly, if one listens to Youtube performances of Jopin, Dick Hyman, Adam Swanson and most other professional performers, the tempos chosen are far faster than most intermediate level MLRag players would like to use.


Edited by pianoloverus (05/30/10 11:17 AM)

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#1446614 - 05/30/10 01:47 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: pianoloverus]
Samuel1993 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 351
Loc: United Kingdom
I've just finished Maple Leaf Rag with my teacher, she says play it like a march. It's really down to taste I guess... some people like to play it faster. Scott Joplin always put 'It's wrong to play Rags fast'.
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#1446644 - 05/30/10 02:48 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Samuel1993]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Samuel1993
I've just finished Maple Leaf Rag with my teacher, she says play it like a march. It's really down to taste I guess... some people like to play it faster. Scott Joplin always put 'It's wrong to play Rags fast'.


How does your tempo compare to these performances?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RISjp-d38-0

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#1446681 - 05/30/10 03:51 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: pianoloverus]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Did you know that Joplin composed a symphony and a piano concerto? Unfortunately, they were never published and the manuscripts are lost. He also composed an opera, "Treemonisha, and was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
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#1446685 - 05/30/10 03:59 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: stores]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
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Treemonisha is great, Aunt Dinah blows the horn!, his little Mexican Serenade 'Solace' is a gem, in general he always puts 'not fast' and more moderato-like tempi above the scores, probabely good taste is, as always, the best guide.
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#1446704 - 05/30/10 04:31 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: dolce sfogato]
Ben Crosland Online   content
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With ragtime, I feel there is a tempo sweet-spot - fast enough that the piece moves along nicely, but not so fast that the syncopations are lost. As soon as the tempo is taken too fast, it becomes all about the player showing-off, and not the piece of music itself.
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#1446937 - 05/30/10 09:33 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Ben Crosland]
Cinnamonbear Offline
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Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
With ragtime, I feel there is a tempo sweet-spot - fast enough that the piece moves along nicely, but not so fast that the syncopations are lost. As soon as the tempo is taken too fast, it becomes all about the player showing-off, and not the piece of music itself.


Wow, Ben! Exactly!!!

Pianoloverus--the YouTube videos you linked to are interesting. I like the tempos of the Maple Leaf Rag there. The roll played by Scott Joplin himself is particularly telling! I hope the person who recorded it set the player piano at the right tempo! laugh

In "Weeping Willow," I let my feel for the third section dictate the tempo of the rest of the piece. That third section (after the "recapitulation"(?)) is very nostalgic, and needs to be played quite moderately in order to sing properly, IMO. So, when I practice it, I play that section first to set the tempo, then go to the beginning and play it through.

I'm curious about "Swipesy." The tempo is marked "slow," and yet, the cake walk was a kind of parody dance processional. I feel this one moderato as well...

???

--Andy
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#1447208 - 05/31/10 10:31 AM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Hop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
Joshua Rifkin recorded a number of Joplin rags in the early 1970s. I've always felt that his tempos were right on the mark. They in fact did seem to hit the sweet spot of "not too fast"

Here is a link to Amazon.com with samples from his album:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio...agSuffix=dp_img

Hop
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#1447256 - 05/31/10 11:51 AM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Hop]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: Hop
Joshua Rifkin recorded a number of Joplin rags in the early 1970s. I've always felt that his tempos were right on the mark. They in fact did seem to hit the sweet spot of "not too fast"

Here is a link to Amazon.com with samples from his album:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio...agSuffix=dp_img

Hop
Rivkin's MPR is considerably slower than Joplin's own performance. Always possible that there's something wrong with that recording but IMO that's quite unlikely?

Also, Rivkin's performance is musch slower than the ones by Adam Swanson and Dick Hyman. Neither of those great performers is at the point where they have to play anything fast just for the sake of doing so.

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#1447399 - 05/31/10 03:19 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: pianoloverus]
al-mahed Offline
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Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
I think Rifkin's interpretation is great! You cannot tell at what speed joplin used to play based on those piano rolls.

I don't think rifkin's Elite Syncopations, for instance, is slow at all. I do think that his Maple Leaf Rag could be a bit faster, but works pretty well the way he plays it.

About swipesy, I don't know exactly what tempo "slow" means. I think it means nothing faster than 120 bpm, but if the 120 bpm mark is the ceeling, what tempo is the floor?

In a matter of fact, I've listened renditions of swipesy at ~80 bpm (with pedal) and ~150 bpm, both fulfill my taste, because the pianists were so skillful that they could bring the correct feeling according to the tempo, and the accuracy and clearness was great, so all depends on the pianist.
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#1447421 - 05/31/10 03:43 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: al-mahed]
Skorpius Offline
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Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 751
My teacher told me once that people play ragtime music too fast...especially Maple Leaf xD
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#1447443 - 05/31/10 04:15 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: al-mahed]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: al-mahed
I think Rifkin's interpretation is great! You cannot tell at what speed joplin used to play based on those piano rolls.
There must be "something" to indicate the speed the pianist wanted/performed the piece at when he made the piano roll, no? Otherwise, how would anyone know what speed to play any piano roll whether classical or ragtime?


Edited by pianoloverus (05/31/10 04:19 PM)

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#1447446 - 05/31/10 04:17 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Skorpius]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Skorpius
My teacher told me once that people play ragtime music too fast...especially Maple Leaf xD
I think many beginners and intermediates play it too slow. Do you think the performances I posted by Joplin and Swanson are too fast?

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#1447457 - 05/31/10 04:27 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: pianoloverus]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: al-mahed
I think Rifkin's interpretation is great! You cannot tell at what speed joplin used to play based on those piano rolls.
There must be "something" to indicate the speed the pianist wanted/performed the piece at when he made the piano roll, no? Otherwise, how would anyone know what speed to play any piano roll whether classical or ragtime?


Yes! Or, more than likely, yes!

Check out the piano roll at the beginning, here. "Tempo 85" it says...

"Do It Again" Youtube at AmpicoGPM's channel
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#1447458 - 05/31/10 04:29 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: pianoloverus]
Cinnamonbear Offline
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Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Skorpius
My teacher told me once that people play ragtime music too fast...especially Maple Leaf xD
I think many beginners and intermediates play it too slow. Do you think the performances I posted by Joplin and Swanson are too fast?


No! grin
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#1447483 - 05/31/10 05:06 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: al-mahed]
Cinnamonbear Offline
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Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: al-mahed
[...] About swipesy, I don't know exactly what tempo "slow" means. I think it means nothing faster than 120 bpm, but if the 120 bpm mark is the ceeling, what tempo is the floor?

In a matter of fact, I've listened renditions of swipesy at ~80 bpm (with pedal) and ~150 bpm, both fulfill my taste, because the pianists were so skillful that they could bring the correct feeling according to the tempo, and the accuracy and clearness was great, so all depends on the pianist.


I just timed my playing of the two I was talking about.

"Weeping Willow" comes in at the 63 setting on my metronome, with a quarter note getting one beat. That might be too schmaltzy for some, but to me it sings properly, and can still be played with lilt.

"Swipesy" comes in at 88 on my metronome, with a quarter note getting one beat. It's definitely peppy without being frantic.

Those are my preferences, FWIW.

--Andy
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#1447534 - 05/31/10 06:03 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Cinnamonbear]
whaley Offline
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Registered: 05/31/10
Posts: 2
The sheet music for Fig Leaf Rag and for Pine Apple Rag both say a quarter note = 100. Both rags also warn not to play them fast. The only other Joplin rags I can find with BPM specified are Eugenia at 72 and Sugar Cane at 100. "Scott Joplin's New Rag" is Allegero moderato, which I guess is even faster (and unlike these others it has no warning to avoid playing too fast).

I love Rifkin's Joplin recordings. Rifkin plays Fig Leaf about half of 100 BPM. He plays Pine Apple slower than 100. His New Rag is less than 70 BPM according to my metronome.

I think Fig Leaf would be way too fast at 100. Listeners would miss important details at that speed. I've always wondered if the 100 is a typo, there are plenty of other typos in the original Joplin sheet music. Maybe the scores should have indicated that an *eighth* note should be 100. No way *that* would be too fast!

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#1447633 - 05/31/10 07:55 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Cinnamonbear]
al-mahed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear



"Swipesy" comes in at 88 on my metronome, with a quarter note getting one beat.

--Andy


Hi andy, do you use pedal on this one? Do you have any recording of your playing? smile

cheers


Edited by al-mahed (05/31/10 07:55 PM)
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#1447903 - 06/01/10 08:25 AM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: al-mahed]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: al-mahed
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear



"Swipesy" comes in at 88 on my metronome, with a quarter note getting one beat.

--Andy


Hi andy, do you use pedal on this one? Do you have any recording of your playing? smile

cheers


Hey, al-mahed!

I use pedal a bit for a little jaunty expression. I haven't recorded it, but since you requested it, I will. However, I can't promise when. I'll try to do it at least by the end of summer. (Just for the public record, that brings to 3 the total number of things I've promised to post to member recordings by the end of summer! grin )

--Andy
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#1448036 - 06/01/10 12:29 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Hop Offline
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Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
I tend to agree with others who like Joshua Rifkin's pacing. Too fast makes for a frenetic, frantic, unappealing performance. Bright and energized is preferred. But not dreary and dragging. For me, Rifkin hits it about right. It would be interesting to know how Joplin himself paced his rags, but I don't think knowing that would change my preferences, since when I played the Maple Leaf and the Entertainer I tried various tempi but finally settled on Rifkin's choice as the most pleasing.

Hop
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#1448057 - 06/01/10 01:03 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Hop]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Hop
It would be interesting to know how Joplin himself paced his rags, but I don't think knowing that would change my preferences, since when I played the Maple Leaf and the Entertainer I tried various tempi but finally settled on Rifkin's choice as the most pleasing.

Hop
Then listen to the recording by Joplin I posted earlier in the thread for MLRag. It's quite a bit faster than Rivkin. Some other important present day performers of this kind of music, including Swanson and Hyman (who are far more well known than Rifkin for this kind of music), play it even faster than Joplin. Of course, what Joplin and others do in the MLR doesn't)mean they'd choose the same tempo for other rags. I always use MLR since it's the most popular.


Edited by pianoloverus (06/01/10 01:06 PM)

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#1448068 - 06/01/10 01:20 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: Cinnamonbear]
hv Offline
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Registered: 10/18/04
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As you can imagine, the subject of tempo often comes up at ragtime festival seminars and presentations. It seems to be a general consensus among those folks that the popular cakewalk which preceded ragtime was definitely slower. Kind of as a practical matter, due to the attire of the late 1800's. Although it's not a cakewalk, a two-step, or a dance itself, there's an illustration of how the cakewalking public dressed on the cover of the Maple Leaf Rag. Here's another really nice one on a cakewalk cover.

Ragtime, which adopted the march in the left-hand, was somewhat faster... march tempo. A lot of folks credit the adoption of ragtime into the repertoire of the Souza Band as a major factor in its early public success and that's obviously the tempo they would have played it.

Kinklets, being identified as a ragtime two-step, rather than a cakewalk two-step, seems to suggest a faster tempo than a cakewalk. I also have the impression that the slower cakewalk style faded with the introduction of ragtime, and was being displaced by a faster professional dance-form that probably inspired ragtime in the 1st place. Buck and Wing dancing. This started being popularized in the 1840's as part of circus entertainment but eventually took on a life of its own becoming a trademark of Vaudeville and eventually evolving into tap-dance. My own theory is that ragtime got its syncopation from it and that piano ragtime, particularly on the East coast, used its tempo as its starting point.

I only mention all that because Kinklets was written in 1906 when everything was speeding up. Take a look at this 1903 cakewalk tempo (apparently professional dancers) in which the male star in the middle clearly does pigeon moves while the male at the right is almost flat-footed in more traditional cakewalk garb:

http://memory.loc.gov/mbrs/varsmp/0377.mpg

So if Kinklets was intended to be played somewhat faster than that...

Btw, the general thinking in ragtime circles is that Joplin's motivation for putting his "it's never right to play ragtime fast" notices on his music was more about his own playing ability than musical considerations. Although he was a superstar composer, he just wasn't a flashy player. But he needed income from concert touring. Indications are that it was a lost cause. His earliest tempo markings were indeed march tempo. Then be followed with a few marked "not fast" and "not too fast". In 1905, beginning with Leola, he started with the notices and a tempo marking of "slow march tempo". A dozen notices later in 1909 Wall Street upped the ante with "very slow march". After which he gave it up. The notices suddenly ended forever in 1910 with Stoptime marked "fast or slow." And his New Rag in 1912 and Magnetic in 1914 got "allegro moderato." Eubie Blake, whose only admitted contact with Scott Joplin was seeing him perform once in 1915, became fond of jokingly telling audiences before he performed a Joplin piece (after Joplin's death, of course) that he met him once and got special permission to play it his own way. I think most modern ragtimers follow Eubie's lead.

Howard

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#1448252 - 06/01/10 06:21 PM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: hv]
al-mahed Offline
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Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
What a great post Howard!
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#1448501 - 06/02/10 12:20 AM Re: a question concerning ragtime tempo [Re: hv]
Cinnamonbear Offline
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Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Howard,

Thanks for the terrific post!

Now, for an innocent question. Did rags morph into fox trots? Fox trots have impressed me as being "rhapsodic rags."

Yes? No?

--Andy
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