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#524336 - 05/27/08 06:50 AM Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
In this performance
http://youtube.com/watch?v=D1TFnOpylfo

the performer plays the Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths(or really swing 16ths). Although this is usually done in stride piano works(which was an outgrowth of ragtime), I had never heard it done in ragtime.

1.Do you think this is "acceptable or correct" when playing ragtime?

2. Do you like his performance? (I do except for the fast coda he adds at the end).

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#524337 - 05/27/08 12:18 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
1) If you want the purist's answer: no.

2) The performance is just fine. I'm not very fond of the music itself, by (1). This is not characteristic of Joplin at all.
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#524338 - 05/27/08 01:18 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17666
Loc: Victoria, BC
My main concern is the tempo. Joplin had to constantly remind players - he even put in the score occasionally - not to play his rags too fast. This sounds too fast - and hence, too hectic - to me.

I don't think the style is appropriate for the purist, but then I wonder - not being much of an afficionado of Joplin's music myself - how much of a purist Joplin himself was and how much latitude he would have accepted in performances of his works. There may be those who think that this interpretation is quite acceptable.

Regards,
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#524339 - 05/27/08 01:55 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
My main concern is the tempo. Joplin had to constantly remind players - he even put in the score occasionally - not to play his rags too fast. This sounds too fast - and hence, too hectic - to me.
[/b]
I'm of the strong opinion that some rags should be played faster than others and Maple Leaf is one of them. For an example of a rag that should not be played fast, I'd choose Joplin's Easy Winners or Bolcom's Graceful Ghost Rag.

Here's the best performance of the piece I've ever heard(at about the same tempo):

http://youtube.com/watch?v=RISjp-d38-0

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#524340 - 05/27/08 04:54 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
hotWings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 140
Loc: MI
 Quote:
The performer plays the Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths(or really swing 16ths). Although this is usually done in stride piano works(which was an outgrowth of ragtime), I had never heard it done in ragtime.
This is because the youtube user ragtimemax plays(or is playing) in the Jelly Roll Morton style and not the Scott Joplin style. Jelly Roll Morton actually does a fast version of Maple Leaf Rag on one of his cds, and he actually swings the whole thing. So in that case, Maple Leaf Rag would be considered "jazz" instead of "ragtime".

Jelly Roll Morton is said to be the first jazz pianist who some may have claimed to be the first person to have invented "jazz". Morton took the elements of ragtime and blues and combined them to make a new style he called "jazz".

That is the truest and best answer I can give you. If you don't believe half of what I said, go into his profile page and listen to all his videos. You will notice that he plays mostly Jelly Roll Morton stuff.

It's just that ragtimemax is a "jazz" pianist, not a "ragtime" pianist. So that is why he actually swings the eight notes and plays at a faster tempo.

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#524341 - 05/27/08 06:14 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by hotWings:
 Quote:
The performer plays the Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths(or really swing 16ths). Although this is usually done in stride piano works(which was an outgrowth of ragtime), I had never heard it done in ragtime.
This is because the youtube user ragtimemax plays(or is playing) in the Jelly Roll Morton style and not the Scott Joplin style. Jelly Roll Morton actually does a fast version of Maple Leaf Rag on one of his cds, and he actually swings the whole thing. So in that case, Maple Leaf Rag would be considered "jazz" instead of "ragtime".

Jelly Roll Morton is said to be the first jazz pianist who some may have claimed to be the first person to have invented "jazz". Morton took the elements of ragtime and blues and combined them to make a new style he called "jazz".
It's just that ragtimemax is a "jazz" pianist, not a "ragtime" pianist. So that is why he actually swings the eight notes and plays at a faster tempo. [/b]
This makes perfect sense to me. I am presently working on Jelly's Finger Buster which I think is actually quite a bit easier than most of Fats Waller's compositions because there are less big jumps and no tenths followed by big jumps at breakneck speed.

Since you know quite a bit about ragtime and jazz I am curious about your opinion of the second performance of the Maple Leaf I posted and also what you think of Jelly's Finger Buster as a compostion.

Thanks!

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#524342 - 05/27/08 07:00 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
hotWings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 140
Loc: MI
 Quote:
You know quite a bit about ragtime and jazz!
I play ragtime, stride and swing in the styles of Joplin, Morton, Johnson, Smith, Waller, Tatum, and Peterson myself. So indeed, I am quite knowledgable about those styles.

Yes, I know all about Adam Swanson. He is a very good pianist for his age. In that performance, he is playing the Maple Leaf Rag in B Major(which is an uncommon key in ragtime and stride piano) while incorporating many of the elements of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller.

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#524343 - 05/28/08 02:22 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3910
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by hotWings:
[QUOTE] ...Yes, I know all about Adam Swanson. He is a very good pianist for his age. In that performance, he is playing the Maple Leaf Rag in B Major(which is an uncommon key in ragtime and stride piano) while incorporating many of the elements of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. [/b]
Just last Sunday he won this year's Old Time Piano Competition in Peoria. I stopped by there on my way back home from the Midwest Historical Keyboard Society meeting in Iowa City (a plethora of organs and harpsichords, a few clavichords, and one fortepiano, as well). Quite a contrast, but both events were enjoyable. Incidentally, if you'd like to hear a "swung" performance of a piece not notated that way, get William Bolcom's recording of his own Graceful Ghost rag.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#524344 - 05/28/08 08:41 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by hotWings:
 Quote:
You know quite a bit about ragtime and jazz!
Yes, I know all about Adam Swanson. He is a very good pianist for his age. [/b]
Hotwings:

What deficiencies do you hear compared to more mature performers? Who do you think are the best stride performers playing today?

Do you happen to know the stride pianist Chuck Folds? I have met and talked to him hundreds of times because he performs every day at the NYC atrium where I play chess.

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#524345 - 05/28/08 11:34 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3910
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
What deficiencies do you hear compared to more mature performers? Who do you think are the best stride performers playing today?[/b]
Not addressed to me, but I'll comment, anyway. As the judges were making up their minds in Peoria, a pianist (whose name I forget, but who was a former winner of the Junior Division of the Old Time Contest a decade and a half ago, and who now is the keyboardist for the Buddy Guy band) played for us for maybe 20 minutes. From the moment he began, it was clear he was more relaxed and into the music, with a more solid grasp of it than any of the competitors. Maybe it was the fact of his not having to compete that gave him that edge. I'm not trying to take anything away from the competitors, who were really impressive, but there was a slight nervousness in all their playing that the pro avoided.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#524346 - 05/28/08 04:29 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
hotWings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 140
Loc: MI
I was going to mention the stride/swing/jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, who's virtuosity was influenced by Art Tatum, but he died recently on Christmas Eve, 2007. \:\(

He left us with so much. He recorded more than any other jazz musician.

The best stride pianists that are still living today include Jim Hession(a good one!, can be found on youtube), Dick Hyman, Olivier Lancelot, and Mike Lipskin. All these players that I mentioned above are on youtube. It's just that Jim Hession has more videos.

A few lesser known stride pianists(unaccomplished but almost professional) are
Kylan Kern, Oli Saunders. They again, can be found on youtube.

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#524347 - 05/29/08 10:55 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
hv Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 1226
Loc: Cape Cod
I don't think its a matter of correctness, but regional styles. The style of the original post may not be the way Scott Joplin would have played it, but few did even in his own day. The more lively tempo with swung 8ths and 16ths was typical of the East-coast style which became the center of the musical universe back then. You could just about pick any ragtimer from an East-coast city like NY, Philadelphia, Newark, or Baltimore for examples of that style. Joplin may have come to NY because that's where the action was, but he retained stylistic influences he picked up in Texas and the Midwest.

I liked most of the performance. That type of speedup was typical of what used to be done back in the day by someone pumping a piano roll. In contrast however, the East-coast ragtimers tended to do the opposite and slow it down for the last few bars. For a moment, I thought he was about to do that.

Btw, I just got back from the Old-Time Piano Championships held at the Père Marquette Hotel in Peoria this past weekend and young Adam Swanson was crowned champion of the Regular Division, beating out 4 adults in the finals. Although he's only 16 years old, he hasn't been eligible to compete in the Junior Division since he was 14, having won that division for 3 years in a row. Last year he came in 5th in the Regular Division. I'm hoping to get some videos and recordings up by this weekend before heading out to the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia.

Howard

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#524348 - 05/29/08 11:12 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
richwhilding Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 10
Loc: UK
Both those performances are great.

To the first question, it is not correct in terms of how it was written, but in the end it is a fine performance in a different style. I enjoyed it, yes.

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#524349 - 07/01/08 10:49 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
You think those 2 posts were "bad". Take a look at this guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bFwDkh3sW0

Joplin did say "not fast" but of course that is subjective.
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#524350 - 07/02/08 06:55 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by hv:
I liked most of the performance. That type of speedup was typical of what used to be done back in the day by someone pumping a piano roll. In contrast however, the East-coast ragtimers tended to do the opposite and slow it down for the last few bars. For a moment, I thought he was about to do that.
[/b]
It's interesting that you mentioned the slowing down aspect because I've noticed that both James P. Johnson and Fats Waller tend to have slow endings to their pieces even if the pieces were fast and brilliant.

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#524351 - 07/04/08 02:57 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
jjtpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Jamestown, NC
My brother was three-time champion of the Old-Time Piano Playing contest, held up near Chicago somewhere. He was forced to retire undefeated, that being the rule for three-time winners.

He then judged the competition for several years. He made a living for quite a time as a ragtime-honky tonk piano player, requiring that his piano be transported to every gig he played nationwide.

He swings Maple Leaf Rag, and plays it as fast as it makes sense.

Very hip.
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#524352 - 07/04/08 03:53 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by jjtpiano:

He made a living for quite a time as a ragtime-honky tonk piano player, requiring that his piano be transported to every gig he played nationwide.
[/b]
Why did he have to transport his piano? Was it especially prepared in some way for ragtime/honky tonk?

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#524353 - 07/04/08 03:56 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
jjtpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Jamestown, NC
Yes.
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#524354 - 07/04/08 04:12 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
Age_of_Anxiety Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/07
Posts: 273
Loc: home
I'd say Joplin's own recording actually has a swing to it: http://youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc

If that's genuine, the recording, then I guess it's entirely appropriate.

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#524355 - 07/04/08 04:31 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by jjtpiano:
Yes. [/b]
Can you be more specific?

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#524356 - 07/04/08 04:48 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
jjtpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Jamestown, NC
He used a large upright piano with a very rich tone that he liked. Mic holders were attached and in place. He also had the action regulated to his liking.

There were no thumb tacks or glass in the hammers.

The piano sounded real good, and when you're a solo act, that's extremely important.
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Live Music Is Best

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#524357 - 07/05/08 12:53 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3910
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by jjtpiano:
...There were no thumb tacks or glass in the hammers.... [/b]
There was a great piano, upright with tacks in the hammers, at my college, that I loved. I wonder whatever happened to it...
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There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#524358 - 07/05/08 06:19 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Age_of_Anxiety:
I'd say Joplin's own recording actually has a swing to it: http://youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc

If that's genuine, the recording, then I guess it's entirely appropriate. [/b]
This really surprised me. I know very little about the history of jazz, but I thought swing eighths came in after Joplin. Anyone know more about this?

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#524359 - 07/05/08 08:22 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
It's surprising because people throw around the two bits of popular ragtime performance practice (no swing and not too fast) as if ragtime performance practice were a black and white issue.

It isn't, and it never was. There are degrees of swing, and the performance of ragtime evolved. Some like it swung, some like it straight, some like it somewhere in between, and for some, it might depend on the day of the week and how they feel at that moment.
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#524360 - 07/05/08 09:39 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
It's surprising because people throw around the two bits of popular ragtime performance practice (no swing and not too fast) as if ragtime performance practice were a black and white issue.[/b]
Dick Hyman plays what I would call a very fast(but moderate according to his view!)performance of the MLR but at a tempo I really like here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RFK-EXmZBQ&feature=related

He also discusses what he thinks about the phrase so often quoted "it is never right to play ragtime fast" and Joshua Rivkin's contribution of playing ragtime at a slower tempo.

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#524361 - 07/05/08 01:32 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Great videos! He makes a very good point - that ragtime descended from marches but became a vessel for virtuosity.

So if you're going to play ragtime as it was originally written, then yes, a slower tempo is more correct, but if you're going to play it as it was played in the 20's and 30's, then you have to fancy it up a bit!
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#524362 - 07/06/08 12:34 AM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3910
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
It's surprising because people throw around the two bits of popular ragtime performance practice (no swing and not too fast) as if ragtime performance practice were a black and white issue.

It isn't, and it never was. There are degrees of swing, and the performance of ragtime evolved. Some like it swung, some like it straight, some like it somewhere in between, and for some, it might depend on the day of the week and how they feel at that moment. [/b]
I came across a story* of Charles Daniels or another early Ragtime composer pointing at a rapid tempo indication (?allegro con anima?) on a rag he had written and saying to John Stark (Joplin's first publisher, who always printed "It is never right to play ragtime fast," on his rags) "That's Latin for 'Stick it in your ear.'" So even at the beginning, there were rapid ragtime players.

*I thought it was in Nan Bostick's collection Ragtime Era Music of "Uncle Charlie" Charles N. Daniels, but can't find it there on rereading.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#1884482 - 04/22/12 06:31 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths? [Re: pianoloverus]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
It sounds as if the history books are wrong, Joplin swings the eighths lightly :



Non swing version (classical pianist style?):


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#1884527 - 04/22/12 07:59 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths? [Re: pianoloverus]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19285
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Do you think this is "acceptable or correct" when playing ragtime?

Interesting! This is a thread from before my time here and I'm glad to see that it's been re-upped.

IMO just as with many other kinds of variants with rags, it's very OK, provided that someone can do it well. I've played lots of ragtime and don't take much liberty, because I'm not confident that I know what I'm doing.

Good job by Jazz++ coming up with the Joplin performance! And I think the performance posted by Plover does this fairly well, also the other liberties that are taken -- although not great. To use a yardstick that I occasionally use: Good enough to get into almost all amateur competitions? Yes. Good enough to get past the 1st round in the more demanding ones? I think not.

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#1884640 - 04/22/12 10:08 PM Re: Maple Leaf Rag with swing eighths? [Re: pianoloverus]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 534
Loc: New York
I don't have a problem with swung eighth, I only get uptight (as many have said) when it's played too fast. Again, the actual tempo marking is "Not Fast" (!).

The swinging, to me, is more of an artistic choice, and while I know the purist ragtime camp wouldn't approve, I think it's a valid interpretation that one could make. When I played it, I would play it both ways depending on how I felt that particular day.

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