BEEN A GOOD OLD WAGON - 1896 - Ben Harney
by vaudevillian Ben Harney in 1896, "Wagon" is probably the first
American popular music piece that could be said to have elements of
ragtime. We find the cakewalk rhythm in the introduction and in the
first two sections. There is a Negro dance presented in the fourth
section. "Wagon" is one of the earliest examples of the birth of
MISSISSIPPI RAG - 1899 -
W. H. Krell
Rag has an interesting cover on the sheet music for a number of reasons.
First, the cover picture - it is a stereo type picture you would expect
to see in the year 1899, although it is not as caricatured as other
contemporary covers. This scene probably was duplicated many times on
the river fronts and docks of the Mississippi River around New Orleans.
Negroid features do stand out through emphasize. The picture probably
was presented to help give authenticity to what the cover describes as
'the first ragtime, two-step ever written.' From this mentioning we
can see the close relationship between early ragtime and the popular
dance, the two-step. Also interesting is the list at the bottom giving
the many musical combinations available from the publisher. This again
gives us information as to the existing musical aggregations present
during the last decade of the 19th century. If you look close
you can see that this piece was published in Chicago. Little has been
written by scholars on the role of local music publishers of music in
the late 19th century.
banjo is shown and below there are a number of musical groups that
include the banjo. It is not included in the orchestral parts that are
published, either for small or full orchestra. It is not until approx.
1911 that we find banjo parts published in the dance band arrangements.
I suppose because it was thought of as a solo instrument. Known as the
first published rag, Mississippi Rag was written by W. H. Krell, a very
prominent and popular music composer of his day.
HOSPITALITY - 1899 - Arthur Pryor
a "Ragtime/Cakewalk," we find the name of "Sousa's Band"
mentioned under The composer's name. The introduction has an
interesting use of the cakewalk rhythm in tutti unison. It is marked
"Marcia Moderate," again linking the cakewalk music to the march and
brass band. Using both the cakewalk rhythm and the syncopation of
ragtime this piece is a bridge between the cakewalk and the rag that
leads to jazz.
ALABAMA DREAM - 1899 - G.
in 1899, Alabama Dream is a good example of a cakewalk that is evolving
into what would be called ragtime. New Orleans musicians called the
early jazz they played 'ragtime' and it was not until Chicago that
this music was called jazz. "Alabama" contains many figures in the
cakewalk rhythm. The trio uses the cakewalk rhythm - not in the familiar
time values of 8ths and 16th but as quarter note and 8th
note values. Interesting counterpoint in the trio with the cornet using
the cakewalk rhythm in 8th and 16ths and the clarinet stating
the cakewalk rhythm (in the same measure) as 8th and 16th
note values. There are some problems in the editing of the parts as
there are some mistakes in transposition.
HELLO MY BABY - 1899 -
less than Johann Brahms was a fan of this song. He heard a lady
performer playing the banjo and singing this song in a Paris nightclub.
He remarked how he really loved the rhythmic structure. Unfortunately
Brahms died before he was able to use the style in a composition. Brahms
was a great user of syncopation in his music and perhaps he, in his way,
paved the way for the syncopated, rhythmic music of jazz. This
arrangement begins with three sections of unfamiliar melodies but ends
with the fourth section using the well-known melody of 'Hello My
Baby.' This piece is an example (along with Alexander's Ragtime
Band) of the ragtime style filtering into Tin Pan Alley and American
popular music. It uses the cakewalk rhythm in its main melody.
BOS'N RAG - 1899 - Fred
one of the first true classic rags, it was published in 1899, about the
same time as the "Maple Leaf Rag" of Scott Joplin. It uses tied
syncopation, a trait of classic rags incorporated later in 1906.
Usually these early cakewalks and/or rags would use untied
syncopation, making this particular rag not only very interesting but
important in its own right. It also shows the progress made in the
evolutionary process of the rag. There is less evidence of the march and
the traditional cakewalk rhythm evolving into the rhythm and character
of a very early rag, much more than the characteristic cakewalk rhythms
used in the Mississippi Rag, which is considered, historically, a very
composer, Fred Stone, and his orchestra, monopolized the Detroit
entertainment and social world to almost complete exclusion of white
performers up until the 1920's. The black musicians of Detroit were
organized first and the white musicians of the city petitioned the black
musician's union for admission, a position that was a reverse of the
national trend. Stone died in the middle 30's. His hold on music jobs
continued well into the 20's when the 'name' bands began to
overtake the Stone Empire.
THE ENTERTAINER - 1902 -
the man most responsible and best known for the ragtime era was composer
Scott Joplin. His composition, "The Maple Leaf Rag," was the first
piece of sheet music to sell a million copies. His rag, "The
Entertainer," was made popular in our time by its use in the motion
picture "The Sting," with a score adapted from the music of Joplin
by Marvin Manlich. Written in 1902, it is a melodic and rhythmic
composition that has withstood the passing of time. While ragtime began
as a piano style, it was soon arranged for ensembles such as ours and
became the popular music of America as played by the numerous musical
ensembles of the day.
BLACK AND WHITE -
1909 - George Botsford
of the most popular rags of this era was Botsford's "Black and
white." Written in 1909 and labeled a ragtime/two-step, Botsford
achieves a unification of all the sections of the rag. He ties all of
the sections together with a common rhythmic figure or formula - a
secondary rag pattern plus a single type of tied syncopation. This rag
shows the high level it had achieved in the use of classical techniques
in the hands of well-trained musical composers such as Botsford.
GRIZZLY BEAR - 1910 -
is an example of what is called a secondary rag containing a
cross-rhythm meter - a technique in classical music called Hemiola.
Botsford was a protégé of Irving Berlin and Berlin stated that he lent
a hand to Botsford in the writing of "Grizzly Bear." Botsford, born
in 1874, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, wrote this rag in 1910. Berlin is
given credit for the lyrics of the song. In this piece we find the use
of the cakewalk rhythm with an interesting use of staccato in the trio.
There is a return to the cakewalk rhythm in the last four measures.
THE RED ROSE RAG -
1911 - Percy Wenrich
Wenrich, who wrote such hits as "Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet,"
"Moonlight Bay" and "When You Wore A Tulip" was born in Joplin,
Missouri in 1880. In 1911 Wenrich wrote "The Red Rose Rag." It is an
excellent example of the use of diversified rhythm. It makes use of the
cakewalk rhythm and the use of dotted rhythms - a rhythmic style that
became popular in 1912 and was a forerunner of the dotted rhythm usage
in popular music.
is an interesting motif at A3 in the use of repetition and sequence. We
find dotted rhythms in the 2nd section. This piece was
arranged for band by J. B. Lampe (his real name is Ribe Danmark). He was
also a composer of ragtime music.
DOWN HOME RAG - 1911 - W.
a 'rag' it is also notated a Buck Dance. There is no definition of
what a buck dance is. Some say it is a dance done by a Negro man (often
called a buck by slave owners). Others say it is a stylistic dance more
like a hard stomping version of the vaudeville 'soft shoe' dance.
piece contains syncopation, dotted rhythms and a rather boring repeated
melodic pattern in sections A, B, and D. The reason this is being played
is that it did become very popular - so popular that the Tuxedo
Orchestra of New Orleans, in 1925, re-organized the piece and added
space for improvised solos, showing the evolution from the early dance
pieces of early rags and evolving them into the jazz songs of the
20's. They entitled it "Black Rag."
RAGTIME BAND - 1911 - Irving Berlin
by the famous Irving Berlin, it became one of the most popular and
influential pieces of the early 20th century. It paved the
way for the beginnings of the famous "Tin Pan Alley." Berlin was a
popular songwriter and whatever was popular and selling at the time was
the style of his next composition. Alexander was the nickname used when
persons of authority referred to a Negro orchestra leader. Thus the name
of the song was typical of the Negro jazz band. It is played from the
original arrangement published in 1911. Listen for quotes from "Swanee
River" and Dixie."
MAGNETIC RAG - 1914 - Scott
Rag is the last rag of Joplin's and was published in 1914 three years
after the publishing of Irving Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime
Band." Tin Pan Alley rags were not really classical rags but popular
songs using some ragtime rhythms and were much easier to perform.
third section of Magnetic Rag possesses a quasi blues form. There is an
extension of the 12 bar progression after the first four bars and
continues with the blues progression after this insertion of two bars,
almost like an extension within a phrase. Perhaps Joplin did not want to
use the 12 bar blues form as it carried with it a certain down grade of
musical classicism. We find a description of magnetic Rag at the
beginning of this composition in the collection of Joplin's piano
Rag" covers a range of moods unusual even in Joplin's works, one
that almost strain the capacity of the short form. Magnetic Rag, as pure
music is an impressive, although sadly premature, close to Joplin's
piano works. It hints at future directions and demonstrates ragtime'
potential capability of expressing profound musical thoughts."
TEASIN' THE CAT -
1916 - Charles Johnson
labeled a rag or fox trot, was written by Charles Johnson. Johnson,
whose home was Kansas City, was one of the last Tin Pan Alley composers
to continue writing rags and cakewalks. Johnson's "Fun On The
Levee," (1917) was subtitled a cakewalk, and his writing a cakewalk as
late at 1917 was unusual as the rag style was out of vogue after 1916.
The Cat" uses an interesting rhythms in its first section (o o o ), (
o o ), and (o o o o). This rhythm is repeated in the other sections of
the song. The piece seems to be lost in time and its creation in 1916
leads toward the evolution of jazz.
SALLY TROMBONE - 1917 -
Fillmore is most famous for the numerous marches he penned. But, he also
wrote a number of ragtime numbers that featured the slide trombone.
After a five bar introduction, "Sally"
begins with a chordal phrase that gives way to a more typical
rhythm of the cakewalk and ragtime rhythms and includes multiple use of
the trombone glissando, a sound that was associated with early jazz. The
trio has the trombone featured and even has a trombone solo as part of
WILD FLOWER RAG -
1917 - Clarence Williams
arrangement is by T. B. Bryan. He is the arranger of "Cocoanut Grove
Jazz," a song that is one of the earliest mentioning of the word
'jazz' in its title (1917). This arrangement is tutti throughout as
it was primarily for dancing. There are no solo passages. There is a
later arrangement/recording of this tune in 1928 with legendary
cornetist "King" Oliver, with Benny Moten and Ed Allen that present
space for solos and jazz breaks, the style of the times. Within them we
can see the progress and style change of jazz arranging. When one
listens closely we can also hear the lack of technique from the players
on the 1928 recording. The stocks played in the early 20th
century were played by musicians that usually had good musical training
- these musicians being from the tradition of the many town brass and
string bands and in New Orleans, groups like the great Creole
Flower Rag's main theme is arpeggio-like and uses octave jumps with
little syncopation and requires good technique from he musicians to
execute correctly. It is written with a pianistic type melody better
suited for a keyboard than wind instruments or strings.
ORANGE BLOSSOM RAG -
1919 - Anton Lada
by Louisiana 5's members: Al Nunez, Anton Lada and Joe Cawley, it is
labeled a 'One-Step," Two-Step or Trot." By 1919 the style of
popular music had progressed past the popularity of the classic rag. The
blues and the jazz song (called a fox trot) became the dominant
style/form of this era. In "Orange Blossom" there can be found the
use of the cakewalk rhythm in the first section and the trio. We find an
interesting coda that contains a trombone smear solo.
ORIENTAL RAG - 1963 -
song was written late in the career of Manonne and after the Dixieland
Revival had ended. Wingy was working in Las Vegas in the 60's until
his death. The song is simple with repeated riffs and ending with the
Vagabond song of Sigmund Romberg. At one time, Mannone was the orchestra
leader of the Bing Crosby radio show.