Music by: Joseph M. Daly
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: Starmer
Lyrical and delicate, that's how I would describe this wonderful rag
published by the composer in Boston, Mass. A classic rag in construction
with an introduction followed by an AABBAC(Trio)CBB. Interestingly, the
Trio uses part of the same introduction from the beginning of the piece.
It is also interesting that rather than return to the "A" strain for the
ending, Daly returns to the "B" strain. This work is deserving of more
exposure and is an excellent example of a rag that is both classic and
musically creative. I'm surprised it has not survived as one of the more
often played rags.
Joseph M. Daly wrote a number of other works, most of which were songs
rather than instrumental rags. Included in his credits are Scented
Roses Waltzes 1909, Good Fellowship; March and two-step,
1912, Just for a Dear Little Girl, 1910 and The Chicken Reel
from 1910 which gained a certain amount of notoriety in being performed
by Garrison Keillor et. al on the Prairie Home Companion in January of
2000. As well as having written many contemporary works, Daly also had
his own publishing house and had some distinction in publishing at least
one of Joplin's Rags.
Music by: Hazel Million
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: unknown
Subtitled, "A Fine Rag Time March" this work begins to move
the line between classic ragtime and ragtime era music. However, it is
still very much a rag and has all the characteristics but has fallen from
the "classic rag" definition, slightly. (For a look at the classic
rag, see our article about Ragtime
). Constructed in an abbreviated AABCC form, it is a melodic and joyful
work. I cannot find any reference to this work anywhere on the net, so
this may represent a rare premiere of a previously "undiscovered"
rag on the net.
Hazel Million is another of the lost composers from the past. I can find
no reference to her. What a shame for she has left us with at least one
fine work that deserves preservation.
Music by: John F. Barth
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: Ora Coltman
During the ragtime era, a number of works were issued that were titled
as "Slow Drags" or "Drags". In most cases, these works
were also ragtime pieces in the classic sense. many were not. However,
this example could easily be titled "Ragtime Mose" for it very
closely follows the general structure of a ragtime classic. After a five
bar introduction we have an AABBACC(Trio)TransitionBB structure. Clear
syncopation and good melodic variety add value to the work and create
an enjoyable listening experience. This work, like the last one, is a
"new discovery" and this may also be an Internet premiere. I
can find no listings for the work or, unfortunately, for the composer.
Published by a relatively minor regional publisher in Cleveland, Ohio,
it is likely this work never enjoyed a national exposure and therefore,
stayed rather obscure.
Music by: S.G. Kiesling
Lyrics by: None
Cover artist: Unknown
The cover of this issue speaks volumes about the emergence of Ragtime
and stereotypes of the period. It depicts a blackface production with
the blacks dancing and a white pianist. Ragtime music was seen as "black"
music, yet the artist could not imagine the pianist or composer as black.
In fact, we know that black composers were the most prominent developers
of ragtime. This type work, a Cakewalk, is often included as a ragtime
piece but in fact, the cakewalk is an entirely separate musical genre.
Cakewalks originated well before rags and actually have their origins
in Minstrel shows as "walk-arounds" the finales of the minstrel
revues. According to at least one source, cakewalks had their origins
in the slaves parody of white owners "high manners and fancy dances".
The name itself supposedly is from the prize (a cake) given to the best
dancers among the slaves.
The cakewalk was popularized and refined through many all black musicals
of the late 1890's. As ragtime became popular, cakewalks were associated
with it (due to the syncopation) and as the new century and the ragtime
fad grew, associating a cakewalk with ragtime was a wise marketing decision.
We know Keisling wrote some other music, notably, The Homeward March
in 1900, and Electric Light, 1896, however, again we have a composer
who has faded into the sunset. This work was published by Kiesling himself
so we know he was a publisher for at least one shining moment. As you
listen to the work, decide for yourself, is this or is this not a rag?
Remember, syncopation alone does not define a rag.
Music by: Percy Wenrich
Lyrics by: Edward Madden
Cover artist: unknown
For our last two works this month, I want to look at the "Rag song",
a genre that evolved at the same time as a result of the classic ragtime
fad. This song, has a strikingly beautiful cover with a rather shocking
pose (for the time) by Dolly Connoly, complete with cigarette and an up-skirt
view. Connoly by the way, was the wife of the composer, Wenrich, and had
a very successful career of her own as a performer. The Rag song evolved
during the same period as ragtime and were more a marketing ploy than
they were true rags. Many of the popular songs during this period including
and blues songs
were referred to as ragtime songs. In fact, virtually any song that contained
a strong rhythmic content was considered a rag song. Alexander's Ragtime
Band, often cited as the definitive rag song, is virtually unsyncopated
and about as far from a true rag as one can get. That probably influenced
the wide acceptance of many unsyncopated songs as rag songs. When blues
became popular, they were also included as rag songs and it was only when
jazz came into wide play that ragtime and rag songs began to disappear.
For more on ragtime be sure to read our article
on Ragtime in our "In Search Of" series.
This song, by the great team of Wenrich and Madden, is moving away from
the classic rag but it does have some elements including a certain amount
of syncopation and a little bit of rag sound. Note also the blues sound,
it almost sounds like the Memphis Blues by Handy in one section with liberal
use of the blue note.
Percy Wenrich. (b. Jan. 23, 1887, Joplin, MO, d. 1952, NYC). Wenrich
wrote a number of hit songs many of which were of the rag genre (see The
Smiler in our catalog for one of his best). Wenrich, came from
a musical family. His mother taught him to play the organ and the piano
while he was still a child. A little later, he would write melodies and
his father would write the lyrics. Often, his songs were heard at conventions
and political rallies. When he was 21 years old, he enrolled in the Chicago
Music College, and while there had two of his songs published by a Chicago
publisher; Ashy Africa and Just Because I'm From Missouri"
Among his biggest hits were: 1909, Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet,
lyric Stanley Murphy, 1912 Moonlight
Bay, lyric by Edward Madden, 1914 When You Wore A Tulip,
lyric by Jack Mahoney. In 1914 he scored the Broadway show Crinoline
Girl and in 1921 the Broadway show The Right Girl, 1926
the Broadway show Castles in the Air and in 1930 scored the Broadway
show Who Cares?.
Music by: Irving Berlin
Lyrics by: Berlin
Cover artist: John Frew
Our last featured work is another Rag song by the great Irving Berlin.
The Frew cover conveys the flavor and theme of the song, about a man who
picks out rags on the piano day and night. Of course, the song itself
is pretty far from being a rag but while preparing the midi file for this
one, I noticed an uncanny similarity to Wenrich's Red Rose Rag. In fact,
though a fairly common rhythmic convention was used, I could not help
but wonder if Berlin "borrowed" the chorus from Red Rose Rag?
Decide for yourself in listening to them. To look at them more closely,
I have created a comparison
of the musical themes. You'll need the Sibelius
Scorch player for this so if you have not yet got it, go get it now,
otherwise you will miss out on this musical example. If you listen to
them, let me know your opinion.
Songs like this and ragtime songs are featured by many folks on the net.
Our favorite, "Perfessor"
Bill Edwards, is a player who has created an excellent Ragtime site.
If you can't get enough of Ragtime, "Perfessor" Bill can fill
your needs. We consider his site the best current Ragtime themed music
site on the net today. His site is almost (wink) as good as ours. Visit
him if you want more Ragtime MIDI.
That's it for this month's feature, as always, we hope you have enjoyed the
music and learned something from it. Be sure to read this month's updated
installment of "In search of" Ragtime
before you leave us. You will find a couple more Etude covers and several
wonderful songs by this neglected composer. Once you hear her music, you'll
surely want to hear more. As for next month, we will have a new feature about
the music of E.T. Paull. We first featured his music almost two years ago
and since then we have acquired quite a few more of his great marches, so
it seems like time to give you a dose of some "new" ET Paull works
rescued from the past. paull covers are some of the most colorful ever printed,
don't miss it!. We will also introduce a new article about Lithography and
the history of printing music.
If you would like to return to part A of this month's issue, click
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