BILL EDWARDS
CONCERT INFORMATION
PURPOSE AND GOALS
As a scholar of Ragtime and a performing preservationist of Ragtime piano and Old-Time music I have many definitive goals in mind. First and foremost is to entertain all that come to listen. The music itself is entertainment to many, but the performer needs to strive to enhance that music and inject his best qualities into it. This will ulti­mately generate more interest in both the music and the performer, and provide good word of mouth for both as well. What I do on the stage is not really a lecture, not so much a seminar, and not strictly a musical show; rather, I would call it an entertainment.
With that in mind, I provide what I call "Enlightenment through entertainment." I prefer the term enlightenment over education due to many pre-conceived notions the public may have towards sterile stage presentations. I would rather have people leaving performances either humming tunes that they heard, marveling at the complexity of the music, or, at the very least saying "I never knew that before." By preserving our musical past we are enhancing a great part of our nationalism, as well as a fresh understanding of history achieved through an entertaining perspective. One of the desired effects of this involves stimulating the interest of a new generation of musicians and participants who will keep Ragtime/Old-Time music alive, just as others have kept the tunes of Mozart, Bach, Handel, and even Gabrieli fresh and in front of the public.
Finally, I would like to set in motion the continued interest of those who would endeavor to learn more about Ragtime music and its many lingering influences, both musical and non-musical. This is continually achieved by a series of musical seminars (not lectures), each tailored to a different aspect of the music, or its effects. While each is entertainment in its own right, these carefully researched presentations are intended as educational tools and enhancements of musical and social studies. They also provide an opportunity for participants to both contribute and to inquire about specific interests. While it may be educating, I would still lean towards the enlightenment aspect. An example of this paradigm made tangible can be found in the MIDI and Sheet music area of my website, RagPiano.com.
These are not particularly lofty goals; Just the offspring of my desire to do what I feel I do best, and share it with anyone who is willing to listen. It is a fulfilling method of receiving personal gratification by giving the same to others. Music is a language unto itself, one that evokes any known emotion, and can induce nearly any mood. But it is a language that even the non-fluent can understand and appreciate in the hands of the right interpreter.
Bill Edwards
703-729-7239 -

"PERFESSOR" BILL EDWARDS
CONCERT REPERTOIRE
PERFORMANCE PIECES
BILL will present many styles of music from the Ragtime Era and associated genres, such as Novelty and early Stride piano. Most of the songs and rags performed will be taken from the following selections:
Ragtime Piano
Maple Leaf Rag
1899
Scott Joplin
Swipesy Cakewalk
1900
Scott Joplin & Arthur Marshall
The Entertainer
1902
Scott Joplin
Weeping Willow
1903
Scott Joplin
Gladiolus Rag
1907
Scott Joplin
The Nonpareil
1907
Scott Joplin
Fig Leaf Rag
1908
Scott Joplin
Paragon Rag
1909
Scott Joplin
Magnetic Rag
1914
Scott Joplin
The Great Crush Collision March
1896
Scott Joplin
Efficiency Rag
1917
James Scott
Grace and Beauty
1909
James Scott
Muskoka Falls - Indian Idyl
1902
Joseph F. Lamb/Bill Edwards
American Beauty Rag
1913
Joseph F. Lamb
Ragtime Nightingale
1915
Joseph F.Lamb
Bohemia
1919
Joseph F. Lamb
Pastime Rags #1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1910s
Artie Matthews
Agitation Rag
1915
Robert Hampton
Mississippi Rag
1897
William Krell
Black and White Rag
1908
George Botsford
Hungarian Rag
1913
Julius Lenzberg
Russian Rag
1918
George L. Cobb
Music Box Rag
1914
Charles "Luckey" Roberts
Cannon Ball
1904
Joseph Northup
Peaceful Henry
1908
Harry Kelly
A Bag of Rags (with Silent Movies)
1913
W.R. McKanlass
Calico Rag
1914
Nat Johnson
Anoma
1910
Ford Dabney

 

Porto Rico
1910
Ford Dabney
That Dawggone Rag
1913
Maurice K. Smith
Affinity Rag
1910
Irene Cozad
Aviation Rag
1910
Albert F. Marzian (as Mark Janza)
Panama
1911
Will Tyers
Temptation Rag (as a Tango)
1909
Henry Lodge
Castle House Rag
1914
James Reese Europe
The Chevy Chase
1914
Eubie Blake
Ragging the Scale
1915
Edward B. Claypoole
Canadian Capers
1915
Chandler, White & Cohen
Royal Garden Blues
1919
Clarence Williams & Spencer Williams
Grandpa's Spells
1923
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton
Kansas City Stomps
1924
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton
King Porter Stomp
1924
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton
The Fingerbreaker
1938
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton
The Crave
1938
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton
A Handful of Keys
1929
Thomas "Fats" Waller
Mule Walk
1924
James P. Johnson
Snowy Morning Blues
1923
James P. Johnson
Memphis Blues
1912
W.C. Handy
Lasses' Blues
1912
Leroy "Lasses" White
Dallas Blues
1912
Hart A. Wand
Dictys on Seventh Avenue
1949
Eubie Blake
Goldenrod Rag
1912
W.C. Handy
The Mechanic's Rag
1989
Marty Mincer
Tha Hanon Rag
1985
Bill Edwards
Blood on the Keys
1989
Bill Edwards
A Ragtime Nocturne
1989
Bill Edwards
The Ragtime Pamela
2000
Bill Edwards
The Wiener Schnitzel Rag
2002
Bill Edwards
The Tuxedo Cat Rag
2004
Bill Edwards
 

 

Ragtime Songs
Asleep in the Deep
1897
H.W. Petrie & Arthur J. Lamb
Hello Ma Baby
1900
Joe Howard & Ida Emerson
Under the Bamboo Tree
1902
Bob Cole
In My Merry Oldsmobile
1902
Gus Edwards
Please Let Me Sleep
1902
R. C. McPherson & James T. Brymn
Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home
1902
Hughie Cannon
Hannah, Won't You Open The Door
1904
Andrew Sterling & Harry Von Tilzer
The Yankee Doodle Boy
1904
George M. Coan
Take Me Out To The Ball Game
1908
Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer
Shine On Harvest Moon
1908
Jack Norworth & Nora Bayes
By The Light Of The Silvery Moon
1909
Edward Madden & Gus Edwards
Alexander's Ragtime Band
1911
Irving Berlin
King Chanticleer
1911
Nat D. Ayer & Seymour Brown
The Aba Daba Honeymoon
1912
Jack Norworth
Row, Row, Row
1912
William Jerome & Jimmie Monaco
Moonlight Bay
1912
Percy Wenrich & Edward Madden
By The Beautiful Sea
1913
Harry Caroll & Harold R. Atteridge
Sailing Down the Chesapeake Bay
1913
George Botsford & Jean Havez
He'd Have To Get Under
1913
Clarke, Leslie & Abrahams
Over There
1917
George M. Cohan
Blue My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me
1919
Swanstone, McCarron & Morgan
The Alcoholic Blues
1919
Albert Von Tilzer & Edward Laska
Saloon
1920
Ernest R. Ball
Sweet Georgia Brown
1925
Maceo Pinkard & Ken Casey
Deep Henderson
1926
Fred Rose
St. James Infirmary Blues
1928
Joe Primrose
Mamies Blues (No. 219)
1938
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton
 

 

Novelties and Show Pieces
The Midnight Fire Alarm
1900
Harry J. Lincoln
The Burning Of Rome
1902
E.T. Paull
Charleston Rag
1899
Eubie Blake
Lion Tamer Rag
1913
Mark Janza
The Entertainer's Rag
1910
Jay Roberts
Rattlesnake Rag
1917
Ethwell Hansen
Too Much Mustard
1911
Cecil Macklin
12th Street Rag
1914
Euday Bowman
Tiger Rag
1917
Shields & LaRocca
Kitten on the Keys
1921
Zez Confrey
Nickel in the Slot
1923
Zez Confrey
Rufenreddy
1918
Roy Bargy & Charley Straight
Pianoflage
1922
Roy Bargy
Jim Jams
1922
Roy Bargy
Alabamy Bound
1925
Henderson, DeSylva & Green
Honky Tonk Train Blues
1924
Meade Lux Lewis
Harlem Strut
1921
James P. Johnson
St. Louis Blues
1914
W.C. Handy
California, Here I Come
1924
Meyer, DeSylva & Jolson
Chopinata
1927
Clement Doucet
Poet and Peasant Overture
1846
Franz Von Suppe
Hungarian Dance #5
1872
Johannes Brahms
Skoda Lasky (The Beer Barrel Polka)
1939
Vejvoda, Timm, Zeman & Brown
 

 

"PERFESSOR" BILL EDWARDS
CONCERT INFORMATION
General Format for the Stage Show
"Music and Mischief of the 1900's"

ACT ONE
Curtain or Lights up on First Song
Early Rag, March or Galop
Initial Introduction
Introduce as "Perfessor" Bill Edwards, Professional Purveyor of Pleasingly Pianistic Pyrotechnics. Short discussion of pre-ragtime music (1880-1897) and how and why ragtime came into existence. Punctuate the point with a couple of brief examples of 1890's songs (mostly weepy and pathetic). Move on to "New music for a new century."
Early Examples
One early rag and one early ragtime song.
The Ragtime Life
Quick description of itinerant pianists, their influences and influence, and how they survived travel in the 1890's. One or two jokes about ragtime pianists.
Classic Ragtime
Two classic rags in contrasting styles: Mississippi Valley, New York, Sedalia, New Orleans, etc.
Venues of Ragtime and Old-Time
Where was it played and by whom. Examples include in the home (by mother), in the music store (by sister), in the bars (by brother), at haughty-taughty social gatherings (by father), and in the districts (by very happy pianists). More jokes about playing ragtime.
Common Ragtime
One simple or popular rag and one early sing-along piece.
The Competitive Edge
Description of ragtime competitions and cutting contests. If a pianist is available for a cutting contest an example will be staged using the Maple Leaf Rag or another well known piece. Otherwise, A competition style rag will played (with panache and lots of flash).
INTERMISSION

ACT TWO
Classical Interlue
Open with a rag based on a well-known classical tune.
Popular Song
Demonstrate an immensely popular song of the era, complete with band track.
Indigenously American
Tell how popular song evolved from ragtime, and how both comprise the first truly American form of serious music. Add anecdotes about Tin Pan Alley publishers and sales tactics.
Make Us Laugh
One example of comic song. Two if one gets applause.
Is It Still Funny?
Convey some tasteful humor and jokes from and about the era. The use of obscure references and demeaning racial slurs be discussed but no offending examples will be given.
Audience Participation and "Oh Yeah" Songs
Two well known songs with not so well known verses. After trying to fit the verse to a song title the audience says "Oh Yeah" upon hearing the chorus.
New-Fangled Inventions
Player pianos and nickelodeons are highlighted with musical examples of how mechanical music sounded. Show a silent movie clip while playing an associated rag.
The Maturation of American Music
Briefly discuss the evolution of rags into jazz and common popular music. Include at least one flashy example of such.
Ragtime's Final Curtain
A fine example of a beautiful classic rag by one of the "big three" rag composers. Exit from the stage.
If they applaud long enough
Or if the doors are locked! One barn burner encore. Final Curtain.

 

"PERFESSOR" BILL EDWARDS
CONCERTS AND SEMINARS
Alternate Formats, Seminars and Discussions
Some alternate presentations are available for seminars or specialty groups. Listed are the subjects and a brief synopsis. All discussions include a generous helping of related music, and opportunities to ask questions or interject insight and comments.
THE ECONOMICS OF RAGTIME
This session explores the role that ragtime and its contemporaries played in boosting the economy after the Silver Panic and subsequent depression of the 1890's. Topics include the industries of piano manufacturing (steel, lumber and milling), sheet music (Tin Pan Alley and publishing plants), player pianos and roll production, jobs for women (selling, playing and composing), new roles for blacks, the resurgence of vaudeville, the spread of public performance venues, mechanical forms of performance, and the effects of the unexpectedly large increase in alcohol production and consumption. The talk focuses on the period up to the end of the Great War" and the beginning of constitutional prohibition.
THE ORIGINS OF AMERICAN POPULAR SONG
Interspersed with both well known and obscure musical examples, this seminar focuses on two different areas. One is the publishing and selling of songs and rags by serious composers, and their unending efforts to keep their music from being both trivialized and plagiarized. The other shows how many songs and performers were created and packaged by Tin Pan Alley publishers, and some of the unusual tactics used to really "sell a song" to the public. Peripheral subjects include the use (or lack thereof) of verses, lyrical content, copyright laws and related problems, competition among music merchants, and the methods used for printing the music, as well as the artists who designed the covers.
THE ART OF THE RAG
Designed for musicians of all abilities, this is a scholarly look at the elements of ragtime. Topics include roots of ragtime and similar folk music, different regional styles of ragtime, varied performance and composition styles, a detailed structural analysis of at least two different rags, varied examples of syncopation and its applications, and how to learn and ultimately perform ragtime. This is a highly participatory discussion that is geared for groups of less than 100 dedicated (or at least very curious) musicians.
HONKY TONK PIANO
A review of the period between the original ragtime era and the revival of the 1970s, this successful presentation covers everything from ragtime used in Disney animations of the 1930s to the many honky-tonk piano artists who appeared in the 1950s, and subsequently helped to save the music from extinction. This talk includes many sound examples, a PowerPoint presentation for visual context, and a review of some of the best and worst album covers of that time. There is also a brief discussion of the changes in technology in 1948 that allowed ragtime to be presented on LP for the first time.

 

SHEET MUSIC COVER ART AND ARTISTS
Music sold well in the ragtime era in part because it was also visual art. This discussion follows early text lithography to the first colorful attempts of E.T. Paull that set a higher standard for sheet music covers, plus some of the best and worst of the ragtime era. It also covers some of the more prominent artist of the time and how their covers not only give us a peek into the social aspects of the ragtime era, but also forecast future artistic forms. This is very visual with both PowerPoint and real examples.
TALES FROM TIN PAN ALLEY - A.K.A. HEARTBREAK HOLLOW
A look into the beginnings and growth of Tin Pan Alley, and many stories of heartbreak plus a few of triumph as the music business became an industry in the early 20th century. Musical examples aboung, plus humorous anecdotes surrounding many well-known songs. Also, a look at the publishing business itself, and the foibles many faced when trying to self-publish their works. This is a good overview of life during the ragtime era with litte knowledge of the music required in order to appreciate it.
THE OFFSPRING OF RAGTIME
There is a lot of music in this one. It includes many examples of ragtime and the different directions that ragtime split into. These include the Blues (a direct parent of Swing and Rock & Roll), Traditional Jazz (the rage of the twenties and the synthesis of Dixieland), Popular Song (responsible for much of today's pop music forms), and Folk and Country music (later merged with Western style songs) into the 21st century. This presentation is great for music history classes and secondary school music assemblies, as many of them are astonished to discover that today's music isn't all that new.
SOUNDS OF THE SILENTS
This can range from a short discussion of what it took to accompany a silent film back in the early 20th century to simply a showing of various short comedies. The discussion part, if utilized, covers famed composers who wrote for film folios, dynamic performers known for their accompaniments, various instruments used, and a look at a number of theater configurations from the town hall to the giant cinema. Films are pulled from such comedians as Buster Keaton, Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Stan Laurel, Monty Banks, and many others. All have been pre-screened with nothing objectionable, so good for the family. Shows can be adjusted, but three shorts (21 min each) with music and songs in-between is recommended, and titles can be changed for several different performances.
COME ON AND HEAR
A short show that is geared towards younger students and can be tailored for any age groups from 6 to 18, this is a fast paced entertainment that includes many examples of Ragtime, Popular Song, and stories of everyday life in the Ragtime Era. Much of the playing includes some visual antics and can readily hold the attention of most age groups for 45 minutes to one hour.

 
Bill Edwards' Concert Information