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Joplin's 'The Easy Winners'

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by mwyman1, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    And now for something really serious... :wink: Before posting some additional Chopin preludes, thought I'd post this fun little piece.

    I only just noticed that you have some Joplin Rags on the site. I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I've always like playing these - although it probably mostly has to do with the complete lack of classical music appreciation among my friends and family! It wouldn't matter what classical piece I played - could be Beethoven's Hammerkavier Sonata played blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back - and my family would say "that sounds really nice." But break out a ragtime piece, or other certain upbeat popular piano tunes, and suddenly I'm a piano genius! :lol:

    Anyway, I admittedly have only played ragtime for fun and never formally studied it (if that's possible). I believe that the purpose of it was mostly to facilitate dancing such as a 2-step, etc., and therefore should have a steady and definite beat throughout. My giant Joplin book has practically no dynamic markings or other notations, but I try to add some variety where I can.

    For some reason when playing rags I rarely use the pedal. In this particular recording of The Easy Winners, I am completely sans pedal. Hopefully this won't add too much controversy, but it seems to me better this way.

    Thank you and have a great week!

    Joplin - The Easy Winners
     
  2. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    This is just plain old, delicious comfort-food music. It makes everyone feel good -- or did me anyway. :D
     
  3. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Thanks Eddy. Agreed! This kind of music is a nice change of pace every now and then. :)
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've always liked this particular rag too. Maybe there are a couple spots where you didn't play the syncopation and instead came down with hands together. Or maybe I've just been playing it wrong all these years.... Whatever, this is fine. Good job! :)
     
  5. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member

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    Hello Matthew,

    It is nice playing although I think the tempo is too fast. Ragtime by Scott Joplin, generally speaking,
    is often played too quickly and many melodic opportunities are missed. Your playing is very clean and even.

    - Kaila
     
  6. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Thank you Kaila for taking a listen. I think you're right that most people play Joplin rags too fast, and sometimes I worry as well that perhaps I pushed it a bit with this one. For what it's worth, I play most of the other Joplin pieces slower but The Easy Winners in particular I've always liked a little faster.

    For me I try to picture folks dancing, something my wife and I used to do a lot of before kids :D . I chose this tempo imagining an up-beat, but not really fast, two-step.

    But I feel many would agree with your opinion about the tempo here, which is a point I do understand. Thanks again!
     
  7. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member

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    Very fun recording, and it's also fun discussing the "sub-text".
    I take the piece slower, but then I picture a saloon atmosphere more than dancing. Or if there's dancing, the dancers may have had a few drinks ...
    Sorry for posting this so far behind the times, the word "Joplin" caught my eye and I just had to listen.
     
  8. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Stu, thanks for taking a listen. Glad you liked it.
    Very nice. Or maybe I'd slow it down if I have a few drinks before playing? Will have to experiment... for scientific purposes... :mrgreen:

    Matt
     
  9. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Mr. Wyman,

    I had a listen to your recording and enjoyed it very much! I like how you alter the dynamics for the repeats and the 2/4 meter feel came across really well. One criticism I have is I was listening to BachScholar on youtube, (that crazy Cory Hall :) ) he plays the repeat of the main theme in the lowest register. So I assume he is either playing it wrong, he has a different edition than you. Which is it?! :)

    Riley
     
  10. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Thanks for listening Riley - glad you enjoyed it. Yes, in most music I try to find some way to distinguish a repeat. When I first recorded this, I did a straight strong-then-soft pattern for the entire thing. When I listened back I hated how I ended it with an entire repeat played softly - felt it whimpered its way out! :? So I re-recorded switching to soft-then-strong for the last two sections just so I could end with more of a bang. :)

    Not sure if there's really a "wrong" or "right" with ragtime, in my opinion. I played this fairly conservative for this site, but usually take a few more liberties with rags. I just checked my edition and for what it's worth there are no markings to repeat in new octave in The Easy Winners, but Joplin does do this in some other pieces I know - such as the 2nd verse of The Entertainer. However, a lot of people commonly do this with rags all over the place, and I always like it personally! :wink:

    Matt
     
  11. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Just got the chance to listen to your performance of "The Easy Winners". Fine job.

    For my taste, your tempo is not too fast. It has a good dance pulse.

    I think the problems with the concepts of tempo in Joplin and rag-time are first those who play them like a bat out of hell just for show. A part of that may have happened due to the time limits on early recordings (this often occured in classical repertoire also). Then the group that reads Joplin's instructions about "Not too fast" and "Rag-time is never played fast". I believe his instruction was not to play slow, but again to admonish those in his day that played like a bat out of hell. Since these are dance pieces, they need to be able to be danced to. It would be interesting to discover the differences in the dances that he uses to describe his different rags -- "Slow Drag", "Cakewalk", "Two-step", "Stomp" -- and to see how they were danced. That would be most instructive concerning tempi in these pieces.

    Scott
     
  12. bargar

    bargar New Member

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    Hello,
    What is the license terms of this mp3? Do you allow one to download it and play it in a public place?
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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