The Frisco Rag (1909)..Harry Armstrong aka Henry W.Armstrong.

Armstrong was an interesting character, he was a three times world boxing champion, booking agent, producer, singer, pianist and Tin Pan Alley song composer, Nellie Dean and Sweet Adeline being two of his most well known songs. This is the only piece of ragtime music he ever published and very good it is too. I've kept as close to the piano score as I could except that in the final part, I've lowered the repeat by one octave to add a bit more interest. The score and midi are in the library..Steve.

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Neat piece. I like that you've dropped that octave at the end. Does indeed add interest.

Somehow, to my ears, this piece begs to be played quite a bit quicker. I dunno why...

Thanks Marc, I think the speed of a tune is very subjective and depends very much on how many pints of beer you've consumed the night before, a few glasses of my home brew definitely affects how fast I'm able to play!

I try and listen to as many recordings as are available and then set the tempo as an average of all of them.  As the maestro frequently stated on his scores, "Not to be played fast, ragtime should never be played fast." and for many tunes this is very true. I think that quite a few ragtime pianists have the same mindset as some bluegrass players (not just banjo) and see it as a race to the end....Steve.


Trapdoor2 said:

Neat piece. I like that you've dropped that octave at the end. Does indeed add interest.

Somehow, to my ears, this piece begs to be played quite a bit quicker. I dunno why...

Much agreement, Steve. I grew up with ragtime recordings from the 50's and 60's which took everything to breathless rocket-ship speeds. When I first heard them played at a proper walk, I was amazed at how beautiful most were..."most" being the operative word here. 12th St Rag does not sound at all correct at less than Mach 1...same for Tiger Rag, etc.

I used to think that Temptation Rag fell into the same warp speed category until I heard it played on the Mandolin and Guitar and at a very slow walking pace...a real delight to hear. I can't recall the recording though.

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