RagPiano.com - Guide to Ragtime and Old-Time Resources
Recommended Ragtime and Old-Time Music Folios
The first set of books shown here are all from Dover Publications
, many which were available through music outlets, but most are recently out of print (OOP). With luck, some can still be found in extant stock from many of the web vendors listed below. You may click on a cover
to order the book directly and/or set up a shopping cart. All of these collections contain good information on both the songs and the composers, and should provide a more than substantial base for a ragtime/old-time music library with virtually no duplication and substantially less outlay than buying individual sheets. Some are still available at Amazon or Dover as Kindle downloads or in similar digital formats. Dover has an on-line store that allows direct purchasing of their dwindling inventory of ragtime-related material at store.doverpublications.com
, or you may write to them for catalogs or more info at Dover Publications, 31 East 2nd Street, Mineola, NY 11501.
Click HERE for RAGTIME BOOKS
or HERE for POPULAR SONG COLLECTIONS
** Indicates an item out of print
Scott Joplin - Complete Piano Rags ©1989
Note that this contains only Joplin's rags, does not include Solace or his marches, waltzes, intermezzos and songs.
Solace: And Other Short Works for Piano ©2001
A good companion to Complete Piano Rags, this volume includes Joplin works not found in the piano rag collections, including marches intermezzos and waltzes.
Treemonisha Vocal Score ©2001
An excellent study guide to Joplin's crowning achievement, it gives insight into the Joplin's assertion of the extended potential of ragtime as a legitimate art form.
A First Book of Ragtime ©2011
Edited by David Dutkanicz, this folio offers 24 greatly simplified versions of rags by Joplin, Lamb, Scott, Blake, Turpin and others. A good launching pad for younger enthusiasts. Includes access to downloadable sound files.
Ragtime Gems - 25 Rags ©1986
The rags found in here are a little more common and well-known by most ragtime pianists. A good play-through book.
Ragtime Jubilee ©1997
A very interesting collection of later ragtime, published after the previous books as the copyrights ran out. Many of the rags within are an essential part of the technical ragtimer's repertoire.
Fifty Classic Piano Rags ©2010
This replaces Classic Piano Rags, and has 31 less works in it. If you cannot find the former (to the right), this is still a relatively good collection.
Classic Piano Rags - Complete Music for 81 Rags ©1973**
This is THE book, the one that has been around for nearly three decades, and is still a well-balanced collection of the best of classic ragtime composers.
Ragtime Rarities - 63 Rags ©1975**
There are excellent rags found in here that are hard to find even on eBay or in Antique malls. Many of these pieces can be found here at perfessorbill.com.
Ragtime Rediscoveries - 64 Rags ©1979**
Lots more pieces you will have trouble finding in sheet music form. This book alone can save you hundreds of hours of searching and thousands in cash required to buy them separately.
Cakewalks, Two-Steps and Trots for Solo Piano - 34 Pieces ©1997
Contains a variety of dance-oriented tunes from the earliest cakewalks of the 1890s to the spate of animal dances of the 1910s.
Nineteenth Century American Piano Music ©1978**
Includes Louis Moreau Gottschalk's The Banjo, a precursor of ragtime, and other pieces that will give the pianist insight as to what was composed in the U.S. prior to the ragtime era.
Sousa's Great Marches - 23 Transcriptions ©1975
All of his most popular marches, these pieces translate fairly well to the piano, and it is interesting to see how these well known pieces are actually executed.
Popular Songs of Nineteenth Century America - 64 Songs ©1976**
Many of these are songs we all knew in childhood, and so did our great grandparents. It is worth a look to see how much some melody lines and lyrical content have been altered in the interim.
Favorite Songs of the Nineties (1888-1906) - 89 Songs ©1973
This is the stuff that was incorporated into and eventually replaced ragtime. A look at this and you'll see that the "Gay Nineties" weren't always so happy, at least musically.
Song Hits from the Turn of the Century (1892-1906) - 25 Songs ©1977**
A smaller collection than some listed here, it still has some lesser-known but worthy pieces from the earliest days of Tin Pan Alley. It is currently out of print but available from sources (click the cover).
Take Me Out To The Ball Game and Other Favorite Song Hits (1906-1908) - 23 Songs ©1984**
A nice combination of songs we all were born knowing and some that have been forgotten but should be remembered. Good for sight-reading.
Alexander's Ragtime Band and Other Favorite Song Hits (1901-1911) - 49 Songs ©1987**
This is simply one of the best of the Dover song folios, and more than sufficient to support a good sing-along session with verses to boot.
Peg O'My Heart and Other Favorite Song Hits (1912-1913) - 36 Songs ©1989
A look through these pieces shows a definite point of evolution in American popular music from even a few years prior, and has nice combination of operetta, early blues, Irish tunes and ragtime songs.
Saint Louis Blues and Other Song Hits (1914) - 21 Songs ©1990**
Smaller than similar collections, this one still packs a punch and includes a couple pre-World War One pieces associated with the war, along with some poignant ballads.
For Me and My Gal and Other Favorite Song Hits (1915-1917) - 31 Songs ©1994**
Another great source of sing-along material, the fusion of blues styles in popular music starts to appear more in many of these songs, as well as early jazz tunes.
A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody and Other Favorite Song Hits (1918-1919) - 40 Songs ©1997**
Tunes from another transitional period in American popular music, with a few late ragtime era ballads, along with some World War I and early jazz tunes.
Beale Street and Other Classic Blues (1901-1921) - 39 Works ©1998
This is simply the most complete collection of early blues in print, since it also shows the covers and includes the verses. There are some wild pieces as well as some that are true-blue.
35 Song Hits by Great Black Songwriters ©1998**
Some duplication crossover with previous Dover books. As a themed collection this book stands on its own, displaying the equal talents of black composers in a predominantly white publishing world.
The rest of the books listed here
are or have been available in selected music stores, from the publisher, or from the web vendors listed below. You may click on a cover
to order the book directly and/or set up a shopping cart, even for the out of print ones in some cases. Since they are from varying publishers, you can expect some duplication of the more popular rags and songs, so select carefully. For those out print, you may still find them at Amazon.com
, or on eBay either through auctions or stores.
** Indicates an item out of print
The Complete Works of Scott Joplin (Volume 1) - Edited by Vera Brodsky Lawrence [New York Public Library]**
Piano Rags, Waltzes, Marches, etc. It is out of print, but worth locating. Note that the earlier "Collected Works" edition is short by three rags.
The Complete Works of Scott Joplin (Volume 2) - Edited by Vera Brodsky Lawrence [New York Public Library]**
Songs and the score to Treemonisha. This is out of print and very rare, but worth locating as it contains covers to the pieces as well.
Scott Joplin - Complete Works for Guitar [Mel Bay Publications]
Piano Rags plus a few non-Rags and Waltzes all transcribed for guitar solo. These are printed in standard staff notation with fingerings, and not in tablature.
Scott Joplin - Complete Rags for Piano [Schirmer Publications]
Piano Rags plus a few non-Rags and Waltzes. Good value, AND it is currently available. All pieces have been newly engraved for consistent readability.
A Little Lost Lamb [Ragtime Press]
Compiled by Sue Keller and Joseph Lamb's daughter, Patricia Lamb-Conn, this fine collection contains a spectrum of Lamb works that span his entire writing career, including marches, songs, a waltz and many rags, most published for the first time.
The Library of Ragtime and Early Blues Piano [AMSCO Publications]
A well-mixed collection that spans the era from ragtime to early blues. There are some items in here that are unique, but some duplication with the Dover folio series
shown above. Available for Kindle.
Max Morath's Giants of Ragtime [Hal Leonard Publishing, New York, NY]**
While not a lot of pieces are contained within, this is a good source for some Eubie Blake and Luckey Roberts tunes.
Max Morath's Ragtime Guide - Best of Ragtime [Edward B. Marks, New York, NY]**
Available sporadically, there is nothing here that is not available in other folios.
All American Ragtime Volumes 1-5 [Creative Concepts]
Collectively over 200 rags in this series, some not found in Dover books. Great for traveling since they are thinner. Sporadically in print.
Sincerely Eubie [Edward B. Marks Music/Hal Leonard Publishing]
Hard to locate, but it may still be in the bins in some music stores and pops up on the internet on occasion. Transcribed and Edited by Terry Waldo. Includes analysis of the rags and some of Eubie's biography.
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton: Collected Piano Works - Edited by James Dapogny [Smithsonian Press]
A scholarly treatise of Morton's works as he recorded them, it is a great guide to ascertain elements of the "Jelly Roll" style, but not sight reading material.
101 Rare Rags [American Ragtime Company]
Compiled and Edited by Richard Zimmerman. Even though a few of the rags have been published elsewhere since this volume was first released, it still has a number pieces you won't find anywhere else.
Gems of Texas Ragtime [American Ragtime Company]
Compiled and Edited by Richard Zimmerman. Nowhere else will you find all of Euday Bowman's rags. There are a number of other worthy pieces that have been recorded but not reprinted elsewhere.
Gems of St. Louis Ragtime [American Ragtime Company]
Compiled and Edited by Richard Zimmerman. Rags that were published by John Stark, many of them very rare, and most never reprinted. A good study of the tastes of this important publisher.
First Ladies of Hoosier Ragtime [American Ragtime Company]
Compiled and Edited by Richard Zimmerman. Some of the best rags from Indiana are included in this collection of rags by May Frances Aufderheide and Julia Lee Niebergall, both considerable talents.
60 Years of Ragtime Piano [Nora Hulse]
Compiled and Edited by Nora Hulse. Yet another in a great series of folios for today's foremost authority on women ragtime era and beyond composers. Many cool items you just won't find anywhere else. CD also available.
Ragtime Refreshments [Nora Hulse]
Compiled and Edited by Nora Hulse. A collection of long-neglected ragtime works composed by women, complete with covers and biographical information. You will be hard pressed to find any of these fascinating pieces elsewhere. CD also available.
Cake Walks, Two Steps and Rags by Women Composers [Nora Hulse]
Compiled and Edited by Nora Hulse. Many previously neglected ragtime gems in a folio that includes the covers and biographical info on the composers. CD also available.
24 Piano Rags by Women [Nora Hulse]
Compiled and Edited by Nora Hulse. An exciting collection of piano ragtime that includes the covers and biographical info on the composers. CD also available.
Hot Kumquats and Other Frosty Treats - Hot 30s Style Piano Compositions by Robin Frost
A must have for those who love hot stride piano. Consider the accompanying CD by John Roache, since many of these pieces were intended for computer playback. Click the cover to order.
The Best of Robin Frost Volumes 1 and 2
Includes ragtime and novelty compositions dating back to the late 1970s, some of them rescored. Also original humorous illustrations. Get a CD of his material to appreciate the skill that Mr. Frost puts into his work. Click the cover to order or for more info.
Irving Berlin: Ragtime and Early Songs [Hal Leonard Corporation]
Part of a series that Berlin himself categorized and stipulated for posthumous publication over 40 years before his death at 101. It constitutes a time-capsule of sorts for the era.
Scott Joplin - King of Ragtime [Ashley Publications]
Includes a couple of Joplin songs and waltzes not found in the typical piano rag-only collections.
William Bolcom: Complete Rags for Piano [Cherry Lane Books]
One of the most durable ragtime composers and artists of our time, this is worth having for his Ghost Rags and Seabiscuits alone. Many of these rags are very challenging, but all are worth the effort to learn.
Ain't Misbehavin' [Hal Leonard Publishing]
The revival of Fats Waller's musical genius was driven in part by this Broadway show. Includes the verses for many of the tunes even though they don't appear on the soundtrack or on stage. Does not represent Waller's instrumental output all that well.
Fats Waller: The Great Piano Solos 1929-1941 [Hal Leonard Publishing]
Transcriptions that duplicate or paraphrase some of the more famous piano solos that Waller recorded, many that remain staples of stride and jazz pianists to this day. Moderate to high difficulty.
Harlem Stride Piano Solos [Warner Brothers Publishing]**
A benchmark of great transcriptions of the better known stride piano solos originally only available on records. Ready for a challenge? This can help you decode mysteries of how certain licks were achieved.
Zez Confrey Piano Solos [Warner Brothers Publications]**
From the king of novelty piano solos, nearly everything he ever composed, including some manuscripts of non-published works. Includes some of his songs. Currently out of print.
Recommended Web Music Resources
A huge inventory of covers for display in varying categories, mostly from the 1820s to 1922, and many with downloadable images of the music as well. Recently underwent a major upgrade including better presentation, larger images and PDFs for many pieces. This is the original on-line archive, and still one of the best historically.
Duke University has a nice inventory of selected sheet music categorized by decades from the 1850's to the 1920's, with images of the covers, music, and ads in various sizes for viewing or downloading.
A fine collection of music associated with Colorado and a great selection Ragtime sheet images. Includes some Euday Bowman originals.
This is a vast multi-library resource that covers parts of Indiana University not seen in their standard collection, and takes in Indiana Historical Society and other libraries as well. Good for research, even though not all sheets have associated images.
This site, home of the Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum, has grown incredibly since it was launched, with more to come. Beautiful design, and lots of ragtime goodies. The basic search engine works well, but the advanced search could use some work. There are additional helpful resources on the site, which Charles Templeton Jr. assures me is one of his priorities and clearly the pride and joy of his late father.
This fine collection has become quite expansive with many items found here that aren't elsewhere. Very good source for items that were included in early stage musicals, and nice resource for research as well.
An exciting addition to the many on-line archives, there are some very unique items that are to be found in this collection. The single drop-down title page is a bit more difficult to navigate, so the browse by composer pages (linked to here) are recommended. Just select Music from the list and Go.
A large multi-tiered archive with some standards as well as four to eight hand arrangements, hosted by the University of Maine libraries. There are several ways to search, and good keyword use or filtering by years are recommended to minimize results.
Baylor University has one of the newer web-based collections available, which is fun and worthwhile to browse through for researchers or casual users. Many of the sheets are in digital printable format.
Presented with the Detroit Public Library, this important collection includes full scans of many pieces of African-American music or that with Negro Themes, and is invaluable for research on composers like Fred S. Stone, Eubie Blake or Bert Williams among others.
This collection lives at the University of South Florida. It is a great reference for years of publication and publishers, as well as composers.
While mostly not available due to copyright restrictions on many of the items, this collection still has some very unusual items that make it a great research tool, or perhaps confirmation for the existence of rare pieces. UNT also houses the great Stan Kenton library. Keep refreshing since this one times out after a few minutes.
A nicely organized and visually rich archive of African-American based music from 1850 to 1920, and worth a lengthy browse into its treasures.
A substantial cache of nearly 20,000 scanned sheets dating back to the 1850s, as collected by Howard W. Wildin. Hard to browse through because of the size, so be prepared to either search or spend a long time browsing.
The Cleveland Library Consortium is a good reference point for Ohio ragtime and beyond, and is involved with exchange or temporary lending programs with most U.S. libraries. So what you find here can often be borrowed or copied for research.
A well categorized collection acquired by the Smithsonian Institution, this focus largely on the images and how they reflect the American way of life. Images are few, but can be viewed at the American History Museum in Washington, D.C.
A sizeable collection of over 7,000 music sheets, with many unusual ones tied to California history along with the expected fare found in many piano benches. Well-scanned and documented.
Great reference site for listings recordings of ragtime and other music as well as research on composers and what they wrote. Scores can be made available through local college/university library lending programs.
Over a century of sheet music and some extraordinary engraved and lithographed covers mixed in with the usual expected content found on archive sites.
The Library of Congress section devoted entirely to ragtime. You'll find rarities by many composers including original transcriptions easily downloaded for your perusal.
One of the better references, albeit without on-line images at this time, of works published in and around Kansas City, including a lot of Charles L. Johnson pieces and items from the Jenkins and Hoffman catalogs. This makes for a fair research site on Missouri composers.
This school hosts the small but interesting Alvah Sulloway Sheet Music and Theater Program collection that goes beyond the ragtime era, focused in some respects on theater. Another good research tool with the occasional rare find, particularly in some of the programs.
Ragtime and other music from Down Under. This is an interesting resource that features not only music unique to Australia, but many imports from the U.S. and elsewhere as well. Search on "Rag" or specific composers or titles.
There are a surprising amount of great resources and references that include sheet music in this library archive, worth a look when trying to search for more information on any particular composer.
Ted Tjaden has assembled this site focused in part on his native Canada and on the music in general. Includes many scanned images of original sheet music and links to many more, plus excellent articles and information on rags, genres, composers, etc.
Covers and accompanying MIDI sequences for music from the 1800's to the 1940's. A very well balanced and represented collection with a good archive.
Hosted by noted piano technician and historian Art Reblitz, this site not only features his marvelous and detailed book on mechanical music instruments, but has many articles on the history of such machines and the companies that built them, along with other highly useful information and links related to the topic.
This well-known stop is a good source for much of the ragtime and traditional jazz currently in print, as well as lots of used material that is hard to find. Search on Ragtime Music
Dover has the best of the best of ragtime folios as well as many other genres and categories of historical interest. Search on ragtime or follow the music links.
Owned and operated by delightful pianist and Bill's good friend Richard Dowling, this store is a one-stop shop for virtually any of your sheet music or folio needs, be they classical, ragtime, or instructional. Many other fascinating items to be found here as well. Highly recommended, and reliable.
This on-line store has a large selection of ragtime music in both print and downloadable forms. From the following link you can see their Ragtime and Jazz/Blues Sheet Music
Fairly good selection, although some of the better known Dover editions are buried, and the searches are not as focused as may be desirable within such a limited spectrum. Worth a look, though.
A European site with digital scores requiring Scorch. Some of the scores they are charging for ($5.79 for Maple Leaf Rag?) are actually available for free from on-line archives, but some arrangements of rags are also accessible to less-skilled players.
This site has a good-sized selection of some music that is hard to locate in other places. You will have to do some mining to find what you are looking for, but you may turn up som gems.
A general purpose resource website related to piano performance, sheet music, information, and 300+ year history of the beloved instrument.
This site vast resource of MIDI creation software and equipment, pre-recorded MIDI files, a large inventory of music books, and much more.
This site allows you to download selected scores to your computer for printing. Covers everything from classical to current styles, including ragtime and jazz, for a variety of instruments as well, and sometimes in a requested key.
Within is one of the best online music stores (formerly Sunhawk.com), covering all styles of music, including many titles in the ragtime/old-time genre with legal digital downloads that you can print directly. This includes virtually all of the works by Scott Joplin. Search on "ragtime" or by title or composer. Many include MIDI files and can be transposed quickly, plus some have tab and/or chords.
This company specializes in hard to find or out of print books. Search on Ragtime or the specific book title. Since many of these books are rare but in good condition, expect to pay a premium for ownership.
A combination of sources combined into one location, you can search on multiple categories, including rag, and purchase scores for piano or more instruments, many from eBay buy-it-now links. At the very least, it can fast-track some of your searches for many items.
I always welcome your comments, questions, corrections, and/or requests for further information or additional books and resources. I also will be glad to engage you in discussion about these topics if you want to mail me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
. Also take a quick look at my FAQ page
to see if your question might be answered there. Thank you so much. Remember that I can't respond to you without your email address.