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Established:June 1997
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All MIDI file contents and Wave/MP3 Audio recordings are Copyright ©1998 through under the 1998 Electronic Copyright Laws by Bill Edwards and Siggnal Sounds. All Sheet Music and Album Cover images here have been restored or enhanced by Bill Edwards, and only the original sources are in the Public Domain (except where noted). Unauthorized duplication or distribution of these proprietary files or associated digital recordings is a violation of copyright and patent law. They are for personal use and enjoyment of individuals only, and may be used on other sites only upon request for permission to do so. This site has been optimized for HTML5/CSS3 browsers released in 2012 or later with a recommended minimum 1024x768 and optimal 1280x900 monitor resolution or better.
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Charles L. Johnson
(M) and James O'Dea (L) - 1906
Iola  Iola - Song Charles L. Johnson was a friend of
Charles Daniels
(a.k.a. Neil Moret), and both being the primary Kansas City ragtime composers, it stands to reason they would be in tune with each others work and local trends. Even though it was four years after the orignal "Indian" intermezzo and song Hiawatha by Daniels appeared, Johnson's entry into the field was no less significant, if at one point the target of a minor controversy. Also, as with Hiawatha, it was named after the town of Iola, Kansas, itself likely an Indian name, had the train rhythm undercurrent, and lyrics added by their mutual friend James O'Dea. This was also good exposure for Johnson since the second and subsequent editions of the piece were published by Jerome H. Remick, which had considerable distribution. The controversy came in 1940 with the publication and recording of a big band piece called Playmates, much of which sounded very suspiciously like Iola. While some may have forgotten the piece, the composer did not, and with current copyright owner Jerry Vogel he did battle against the Santly-Joy company which owned Playmates. By 1944, Johnson and Vogel did receive a settlement. They probably did not want to be seen as "Indian givers" in this instance.
The Shovel Fish Rag
Harry L. Cook
- 1907
The Shovel Fish Rag Don't judge a rag by it's cover? In this case, a strange cover indicates a somewhat strange rag, but still worthy of attention. Shovel Fish is comprised of more than the usual three or four sections, totalling six in all actually, making into somewhat of a medley of themes. However, given that several of them are only eight measures in length instead of the usual sixteen, this rag is about the same length as your standard issue piano rag with full repeats. Harry Cook was known primarily as a violinist from Louisville, Kentucky, but he was also a talented arranger and occasional composer. Remick published his rag Fluffy Ruffles around the same time as The Shovel Fish. As for the fish, however, it is officially called the spoonbill or paddlefish, largely found in Oklahoma, Missouri and Iowa. The spoonbill is a cartoonish remnant of prehistoric days on earth, and it has been postulated that the purpose of the long snout is more for navigation than efficient feeding. It should be also noted that on a scale of 1 to 10, the spoonbill rates a 0 since it has no scales. That explains the fish, but as for the frog band? I find them quite ribbeting, myself.
Augustan Club Waltz
Scott Joplin
- 1901
Augustan Club Waltz While Joplin, as a black composer, usually associated with other blacks in Sedalia, his new found celebrity with the local publication of Maple Leaf Rag and relationship with publisher John Stark elevated his status in open-minded Sedalia, Missouri to a point where he could also mingle with members of white society as well. Having already composed a piece for the recently shut down Maple Leaf Club, Joplin worked on this piece, likely intended to be titled Augustain Club Waltzes, for the white Augustain Club, formed in December of 1899, the same month as the other club's demise. It was not published for over another year, and the club's name was misspelled in the title, but it was still a milestone. Historian Ed Berlin in his book King of Jazz suggests that the piece was apparently commissioned by the club, and it was possibly performed by an orchestra at a club event in March of 1900. However, Joplin was evidently never asked to perform at the club. Nonetheless, Augustan Club Waltzes brought him as much respect in the entirety of Sedalia as Maple Leaf would eventually bring him throughout the country. After a very brief opening, the A section of this relatively short waltz clearly suggests the use of multiple melodic lines in different orchestral timbres. There is a hint of syncopation in the B section with a chord held over the bar of the eighth measure, but that's as close to the ideal of ragtime as the piece comes. As was typical for waltzes of the time, a relative minor section follows, with another chord held over the barline every four measures. The fourth section works with the idea of minimalism, sparsely stating a melody in octaves, each one held for a measure or more, with a lyrical effect, breaking free near the end of the section. This culminates in a fitting grand finale. Some of the ideas in Augustan Club Waltz would be expanded upon in his inspired Bethena just a few years later.
Edgecombe Cake Walk
Gaston Lichtenstein
- 1900
Edgecombe Cake Walk This charming little composition came to me directly from the piano bench of ragtime pianist and apple farmer Marty Mincer. It was in Marty's family for many years, and he titled one of his albums after it. Lichtenstein attended the University of Cincinatti [Ohio] around the time of the composition, where the publisher, George Jaberg Music Company, flourished around the turn of the century, doing vanity runs as well as a few distributed publications. Jaberg's 1900 catalog includes many waltzes, galops and ethnic two steps such as Edgecombe, but no mention of piano rags. This was the last of Gaston's three known compositions, and he went on to be a succesful and important Jewish scholar and Virginia historian. He continued to work for years as a musician in Richmond, Virginia, but no further compositions have been found. In his Edgecombe, traditional cakewalk rhythmic pattern is closely adhered to with a lot of emphasis on the left hand bass patterns as well. The B section allows for adventurous improvisation, which is explored here. The trio is actually a very smooth contrast to the rest of the piece, even at eight measures for the theme, and is followed by the opening strain in the new key. This arrangement sticks quite a bit closer to the score than Marty's recording (which includes an additional theme of his own design), but there are some of his neater tricks thrown in here with mine for variety.

Ragtime Webring-Dedicated To Scott Joplin

The Ragtime Webring-Dedicated to Scott Joplin and the music of the Ragtime Era, this ring is an invaluable resource for jazz music lovers, musicians and historians. Sheet music, midi files, afro-american history, record collectors...

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There are lots of great ragtime recordings by top artists available from
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Including some of my recommended favorites:
Max Morath Dick Hyman Dick Zimmerman
Paul Lingle Wally Rose Lu Watters
James P. Johnson Tony Caramia Squirrel Nut Zippers
Marcus Roberts Butch Thompson Jelly Roll Morton
Glenn Jenks Sue Keller Fats Waller
The Good Time Jazz Catalog and Bill's personal favorites, The Firehouse Five+2!

And don't miss these movies which include some ragtime music:
The Jazz Singer The Sting
Alexander's Ragtime Band Scott Joplin
The Legend of 1900 Ragtime
For Me and My Gal Meet Me In St. Louis
In the Good Old Summertime Take Me Out to the Ball Game
The Jolson Story Jolson Sings Again
Cheaper by the Dozen San Francisco
Somewhere in Time Titanic (1953)
The Other Pretty Baby
42nd Street Reds
The Son of Kong Story of Vernon and Irene Castle
Cheyenne Social Club The Shootist
How To Dance Through Time - Dances of the Ragtime Era

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