Ragtime, the blues, blues form, and 32-bar song form

| June 19, 2015

Ragtime, the blues, blues form, and 32-bar song form

Think of the discussion board as an opportunity to write a mini-essay. We recommend that you prepare your post as a Word document, so that you can polish your writing before posting it. Read the introductory information relating to the recording, and then listen the recording. Read the two question topics associated with the recording, and choose one to craft a thoughtful initial post of about 250 to 300 words in length. Post your mini-essay by 11:55 pm, and respond to two or three of your teammates’ posts by 11:55 p.m. Sunday. (I will send the other teammates’ posts later on the additional materials)

Introductory information: The piano rags of Scott Joplin were highly influential in the development of “stride-style” jazz piano.  Among the great New Orleans jazz musicians who recorded in the 1920s, Jelly Roll Morton shows the most direct influence of Joplin.  And the Harlem stride-style pianists, as we’ll see, were also influenced by the rags of Joplin.

Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSpoVH0c-Dw

[The Complete Rags of Scott Joplin. Penn State MMC: MCD93-126] Scott Joplin, “The Entertainer” (1902), William Albright, piano (Amerco, Inc., 1990)
Topic 1:?The “rag” was one of the most influential styles of music on early jazz.  “Rags” were written for piano, and the left-hand accompaniment pattern of the rag was adopted in early stride-style jazz piano.  Scott Joplin is one of the most famous composers of this style of piano music.  Listen to “The Entertainer,” do you recognize it?  It was made famous by the film, The Sting, in the 1970’s.  Formally, piano rags were based on the forms of marches.  “The Entertainer” has several sections.  Listen specifically from 00:00 to 02:16.  How many sections are within this segment?  Do any sections repeat?  How would you label them if you used letters to designate each section?
Topic 2:?The first section of the piece begins at 00:06-00:31 after a brief introduction.  Do you recognize this melody?  What is syncopation?  Is there syncopation in “The Entertainer”?  How prevalent is syncopation in the melody?  How important is the steady left-hand rhythmic pattern to our perception of syncopation in the melody?  Are there rhythmic/melodic figures that Joplin uses to build his melodies?  How are these figures repeated and varied?  Examine a brief passage—a phrase or a section—in as much detail as you can.  Provide counter numbers.  Then listen specifically to the section at 01:48-02:16.  Are there differences compared to an earlier section?  Is there variation in the melody?

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