Re: Stark's cover for "The Easy Winners"
Your mention of Joplin's picture means we aren't talking about the same cover so I have attached the score that I have. I downloaded this from one of the online libraries but I don't recall which one.
Interestingly, Stark has also included some advertising for other pieces on the last page. Twice he makes references to the "title page"(by which he obviously means the cover) , referring to them as "fine",or "classic", not "comic". This indicates that the cover of a piece would have been an important selling point at the time so maybe this a clue as to why he didn't use the original cover. Maybe he didn't think it was "classic" enough.
- Same Cover I was talking about - just that the one I found (I have the Shattinger myself) has Joplin's picture in the oval, not the squiggles. Appears also to be standard format - post 1918 - so no change for now.
I'm simply not sure, but there are enough indications stylistically, historically, industry-wide, and otherwise suggesting this. Looking up Gronk at some point to see what's up with him.
--- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, ragantango <scottjoplin@...> wrote:
> Your mention of Joplin's picture means we aren't talking about the same cover so I have attached the score that I have. I downloaded this from one of the online libraries but I don't recall which one.
> Interestingly, Stark has also included some advertising for other pieces on the last page. Twice he makes references to the "title page"(by which he obviously means the cover) , referring to them as "fine",or "classic", not "comic". This indicates that the cover of a piece would have been an important selling point at the time so maybe this a clue as to why he didn't use the original cover. Maybe he didn't think it was "classic" enough.
- Looked at the back cover for the PDF you posted. The pieces there suggest, perhaps, a 1917 printing, but it could also be later. I don't have my original with me here in Minnesota right now, so can't compare margins for the music plates. That would be the best indicator as to the paper size, given that in most cases the same plates could be used on the 9x12 with no problem - just smaller margins. I can check on this Tuesday when I am back in Virginia.
My initial visual inspection suggests still that it is standard format, but until I do a side by side, I can't be sure.
In any case, this is not an early Stark cover, and this might even be issued after Joplin's death. Stark pieces were mixed at that time, with some of the newer rags appearing on the 10.25x13.5 paper but typeset for two pages instead of four. I have two reissues, from the late 1910s at best guess, that use the original plates from the 1900-1910 decade, and they are standard format from the same period.
Why continue printing large format - there was likely paper in stock of that width, and during the war paper shortages, so reducing the rag to two pages (example would be New Era Rag) reduced the use by 33%, and less ink to boot. But the cost of making new plates for music that was perfectly fine was perhaps not as sensible as simply making the paper smaller, as the Music Publisher's Association implored its members to do in early 1917 (led by E.T. Paull who transitioned rather quickly during 1917).
The generic cover was an easy boilerplate in which the illustration was not incongruous with the name of the rag, and ostensibly any name, within reason, could be typeset. It also did not require litho stones, but was offset instead. Since Easy Winners had already been in release, perhaps replicating it with the Shattinger cover left a bad taste in Stark's (any of them) mouth (even though he used a couple of other castoffs from that company), so that would be another reason generic boilerplate would make sense.
More when I can focus on it.
- Don't worry Max, I wasn't fooled...
...it LOOKS perfect visually (in terms of the fonts, layout, even the drop-outs in the noteheads, etc) , but musically it does not sound very much like Joplin to me. I would say perhaps a few bars, maybe three or four, sound like Joplin.
The rest is very good, however, and compares nicely to the New York stage show and operetta music published around 1910-1911, such as tunes by Karl Hoschna, Raymond Hubbell, etc.
I didn't hear a whole lot of 1903 in there, the harmonies seemed a tad advanced for American popular music (and stage music) from that time period, although common to classical music and occasionally found in semi-classical music. [I'm not a huge expert so you can prove me otherwise]
I haven't heard the MP3 yet but I assume its as good as the two pages I played.
As legendary as "A Guest of Honor" is, I think our time would be better spent preserving any and all old manuscripts, etc. that we find at garage sales, estate sales, listed for sale on Craigslist, Ebay, etc. rather than just looking for this one thing.
If it's out there, and many people are diligently already looking for similar things, it will probably turn up.
If it's not out there any longer, then, again, at least our time was spent preserving OTHER things by other composers (see below), that DO exist and ARE in danger of being trashed or burnt or whatever, and thusly at least our time was not wasted with our blinders on bent on finding only one thing.
We should also be preserving other one-of-a-kind documents such as home-made records (cylinder and disc) made from about 1900 through the 1940s and 1950s... and also reel-to-reel tapes, especially, in my own case, of musicians who were born prior to about 1905 (in my opinion), since I am always looking for this kind of material.
I'm particularly interested in hearing popular pianists born between 1875 and 1895. The musicians do not have to be famous or even terribly well-regarded, I just crave the sound of those pianists from that era... they have that FEEL and INTERPRETATION that is almost entirely absent from most pianists alive today (ragtime and otherwise) and also these recordings are typically one-of-a-kind and thus very historically important. I am of course interested in homemade piano rolls, organ and orchestrion rolls, etc etc but these hardly ever turn up. Most of what you are apt to find was commercially issued, but there are some commercial brands and types of rolls that are EXCEEDINGLY EXCEEDINGLY rare today, and should be preserved immediately upon discovery.
Anybody also being offered the personal effects, letters, diaries/journals, family photos, etc of said people...
[assuming either there are no surviving relatives, or the relatives are NOT INTERESTED at all in preserving this stuff]
...should get them rather then have this irreplaceable biographical information end up in the landfill.
P.S. kudos on getting the fonts correct... I hope these will be commercially available to the public eventually.
--- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "ragtime_fanatic" <ragtime_fanatic@...> wrote:
> Bryan C and group,
> I can in no good concience leave that last message for too long without
> a follow-up to explain that I have pulled a little joke. Sadly, "Guest
> of Honor" of course has yet to be found, and that is no less true today.
> I copy old musical fonts as a hobby when I can, and I happened to have
> "1901 Stark" in my library - so when the discussion came up on that
> typeface I couldn't resist. Hope I haven't offended anybody!
> While crafting this little prank, I got in touch with piano roll expert
> Robert Perry, who even went through census records to find a plausible
> subject to include as a fake dedicatee. We settled on a gentleman named
> "Pharaoh T. Bowles", who lined up perfectly in time an location; I
> neglected to include it in the final PDF, however.
> The music is adapted from a rag I wrote recently, as an homage to
> Joplin's particular style of composing ragtime. The whole rag can be
> heard here ("Guest of Honor" is a placeholder title here, as I have yet
> to name the rag.) Here's the Mp3 file.
> Best regards,
> --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "ragtime_fanatic"
> <ragtime_fanatic@> wrote:
> > Bryan C,
> > This PDF may offer some *exiting* new insight both for the ragtime
> > community, as well as your discussion of 1901-1902 Stark-era
> > typesetting, and the publication of "The Easy Winners" and "The
> > Strenuous Life".
> > I happily invite you and the others here to have a look: guest1.pdf
> > <http://www.freewebs.com/ragtimeguy/guest1.pdf>
> > With best RAGards,
> > Max