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Re: Fannie Woods' version of Maple Leaf Rag

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  • FredC
    John, When you say kinda hard to play...as written do you mean from a technical keyboard point of few or just hard to resist adding embellishments to it?
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 1, 2013
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      John,

      When you say "kinda hard to play...as written" do you mean from a technical keyboard point of few or just hard to resist adding embellishments to it?

      From a technical standpoint, I think it's one of the easier pieces I ever learned. The whole thing seems to "fall" into the hand so nicely. Some beginning players are intimidated or frightened off by the key signature but once the piece is memorized, I don't think that is much of an issue, or, at least it wasn't with me. I was still pretty much a beginning piano student and player when I learned this piece. Then I went on to other Joplin-Lamb-Scott pieces where I encountered a lot more difficulty. I had (and still have) a lot more issues with the right-hand octave passages on the white keys in "The Entertainer".

      As far as adding embelishments or interpretations to the piece, sure, I do that too. As long as the embellishments are within the bounds of the genre that is both acceptable and sometimes sounds quite nice, too. Would Joplin have disapproved? Who knows really?

      Regards,
      Fred M. Cain

      --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "johnk570" wrote:
      >
      > I think it's kinda hard to play the Maple Leaf exactly as written. Gladiolus, Magnetic, Eugenia, maybe the Entertainer and The Favorite, etc., can be played as written without much in the way of improv or flourish, but songs like Maple Leaf just beg for improvisation, if only to differentiate your rendition from the countless other renditions out there (and to come) and thus make it interesting. There's no debate about it. :P
      >
      > Very interesting recording, too. Glad to hear it!
      >
      > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew" wrote:
      > >
      > > Hey guys,
      > >
      > > What with the recent thread of the hot recording of "Sweetness" rag played by the composer, Fannie Woods (as a 4-hand piano duet), I thought you guys ought to also hear the recording of her playing "Maple Leaf Rag", recorded at the same time, December of 1962, which would make her 71 years old at the time of recording.
      > >
      > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpI_tPV9tH8
      > >
      > > Although not born as early as some of the older school ragtimers (such as Tom Turpin (1871), or Charles Hunter (1876)), she nonetheless displays what I can only describe as a real "folk ragtime" feel on her recording.
      > >
      > > Also, and most importantly, she DOES NOT play this as written!
      > >
      > > Listen carefully to the various beautiful ways in which she reworks the various themes, to her own liking.
      > >
      > > Given how few pianists of her generation and earlier recorded "Maple Leaf", this is another important recording to add to the list, and is worthy of serious study.
      > >
      > > P.S. thanks, Perfessor Bill, for finding out more about Fannie Woods, and for encouraging her surviving family members to post these one-of-a-kind recordings!
      > >
      > > RAGards,
      > > Andrew Barrett
      > >
      >
    • johnk570
      It s hard to resist adding in embelishments. It s really odd, too because when you compare it to the other rags in print at the time (Walkin on de Rainbow
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 1, 2013
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        It's hard to resist adding in embelishments. It's really odd, too because when you compare it to the other rags in print at the time (Walkin on de Rainbow Road, Rags to Burn, Pride of Bucktown, and of course Original Rags, etc etc), it doesn't really sound anything like those. As written, it's already perfect, and it sounds so rich and full in comparison to the thinner sounding folk rags (which were probably composed on other instruments, such as banjos and mandolins). That said, it's open enough to add in embellishments just like the other rags of the time. Technically, it's not very hard, because like you said it fits so nicely under the hands. Playing it in D is much more difficult becuase it doesn't fit to well under the hands (unless you have a horrifically out of tune piano).





        --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "FredC" wrote:
        >
        > John,
        >
        > When you say "kinda hard to play...as written" do you mean from a technical keyboard point of few or just hard to resist adding embellishments to it?
        >
        > From a technical standpoint, I think it's one of the easier pieces I ever learned. The whole thing seems to "fall" into the hand so nicely. Some beginning players are intimidated or frightened off by the key signature but once the piece is memorized, I don't think that is much of an issue, or, at least it wasn't with me. I was still pretty much a beginning piano student and player when I learned this piece. Then I went on to other Joplin-Lamb-Scott pieces where I encountered a lot more difficulty. I had (and still have) a lot more issues with the right-hand octave passages on the white keys in "The Entertainer".
        >
        > As far as adding embelishments or interpretations to the piece, sure, I do that too. As long as the embellishments are within the bounds of the genre that is both acceptable and sometimes sounds quite nice, too. Would Joplin have disapproved? Who knows really?
        >
        > Regards,
        > Fred M. Cain
        >
        > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "johnk570" wrote:
        > >
        > > I think it's kinda hard to play the Maple Leaf exactly as written. Gladiolus, Magnetic, Eugenia, maybe the Entertainer and The Favorite, etc., can be played as written without much in the way of improv or flourish, but songs like Maple Leaf just beg for improvisation, if only to differentiate your rendition from the countless other renditions out there (and to come) and thus make it interesting. There's no debate about it. :P
        > >
        > > Very interesting recording, too. Glad to hear it!
        > >
        > > --- In EliteSyncopations@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew" wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Hey guys,
        > > >
        > > > What with the recent thread of the hot recording of "Sweetness" rag played by the composer, Fannie Woods (as a 4-hand piano duet), I thought you guys ought to also hear the recording of her playing "Maple Leaf Rag", recorded at the same time, December of 1962, which would make her 71 years old at the time of recording.
        > > >
        > > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpI_tPV9tH8
        > > >
        > > > Although not born as early as some of the older school ragtimers (such as Tom Turpin (1871), or Charles Hunter (1876)), she nonetheless displays what I can only describe as a real "folk ragtime" feel on her recording.
        > > >
        > > > Also, and most importantly, she DOES NOT play this as written!
        > > >
        > > > Listen carefully to the various beautiful ways in which she reworks the various themes, to her own liking.
        > > >
        > > > Given how few pianists of her generation and earlier recorded "Maple Leaf", this is another important recording to add to the list, and is worthy of serious study.
        > > >
        > > > P.S. thanks, Perfessor Bill, for finding out more about Fannie Woods, and for encouraging her surviving family members to post these one-of-a-kind recordings!
        > > >
        > > > RAGards,
        > > > Andrew Barrett
        > > >
        > >
        >
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