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Original Rags

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Price £10.00

Written in the same year as the Maple Leaf Rag, Original Rags lends itself well to the bass quartet medium. It has great rhythmic variety and ingenuity and the melodic interest is equally distributed between the players. There is a 'hoe-down' feel to much of the piece, making in a lively, upbeat and accessible addition to the repertoire. There is some harmonic work to give the quartet height and clarity, but nothing to frighten the horses!

There are effective and accessible musical and technical challenges for each player and Original Rags would be ideal for any audience or occasion.

Performance Level: 7;8

Recital Music also publish a bass quartet arrangement of Scott Joplin's The Entertainer [RM046] and Elite Syncopations [RM265].


David Heyes writes: 'I made this arrangement for the bass ensemble at the Royal Academy of Music (JD) some years ago. There was always one bassist, not my student, who would insist on only playing bass 4 so I decided to put some of the high harmonics in this part. When I asked him which bass he would like to play I was delighted to see the look of shock and horror on his face when he realised that treble clef was used. I have never forgotten this bassist, probably an orchestral bassist now, but for the wrong reasons!'


Scott Joplin, the "King of Ragtime" music, was born near Linden, Texas on November 24, 1868 and moved with his family to Texarkana at the age of about seven. Even at this early age, Joplin demonstrated his extraordinary talent for music. Encouraged by his parents, he was already proficient on the banjo, and was beginning to play the piano and by the age of eleven, and taught by Julius Weiss, he was studying musical theory.

After several years as pianist, playing in saloons and brothels throughout the Midwest, he settled in St. Louis about 1890. There he studied and led in the development of a music genre now known as ragtime - a blend of European classical styles combined with African American harmony and rhythm.

In the late 1890s, Joplin worked at the Maple Leaf Club in Sedalia, which provided the title for his best known composition, the Maple Leaf Rag, published in 1899. This was followed a few years later by The Entertainer, another of his best known compositions. In 1911, Joplin moved to New York City, where he devoted his energies to the production of his operatic work, Treemonisha, the first grand opera composed by an African American. After suffering deteriorating health due to syphilis that he contracted some years earlier, Joplin died on April 1, 1917 in Manhattan State Hospital.

Although Joplin's music was popular and he received modest recompense during his lifetime, he did not receive recognition as a serious composer for more than fifty years after his death. In 1973 his music was featured in the motion picture, The Sting, which won and Academy Award for its film score and three years later Joplin's opera Treemonisha won the coveted Pulitzer Prize.

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Cat No. RM262
Price £10.00
ComposerScott Joplin
EditorDavid Heyes
CategoryDouble Bass Quartet
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty level6 - 8
ISMN 979-0-57045-262-0
EAN-13 9790570452620
Weight 85 grams
Published 19th July 2009
Availability 7 in stock
See also...
RM007  Ave Verum Corpus
RM016  Tritsch-Tratsch Polka
RM020  The Ragtime Bass Player
RM024  All in a Day's Work