Kismet Rag – Scott Joplin

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When Joplin was learning the piano, serious musical circles condemned ragtime because of its association with the vulgar and inane songs of Tin Pan Alley. As a composer Joplin refined ragtime, developing it from the dance music played by pianists in brothels in cities like St. Louis. This new art form, the classic rag, combined Afro-American folk music’s syncopation and nineteenth-century European romanticism, with its harmonic schemes and its march-like tempos, in particular the works of John Philip Sousa. With this as a foundation, Joplin intended his compositions to be played exactly as he wrote them _ without improvisation. Joplin wrote his rags as “classical” music to raise ragtime above its “cheap bordello” origins and produced work which opera historian Elise Kirk described as “…more tuneful, contrapuntal, infectious, and harmonically colorful than any others of his era.”

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Once upon a time, there were only shops that enabled you to buy common music from. Today, nobody has to even leave their residence to start practicing common keyboard music right away, they just download it, pop it through their printer and these people can begin practicing right away. Or perhaps, you could have obtained the songs from a friend, and then asked your kind neighbour to photocopy it – what a hassle.

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