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Post new topic What makes a song a rag?
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Author Topic:  What makes a song a rag?
Joe Burke


From:
Toronto, Canada
Post Posted 27 Sep 2017 7:50 am     Reply with quote

I suppose rag comes from ragtime? I suppose it needs to be an instrumental, and it needs to swing and be fast.

Am I right? Anyone have a good definition?

Thanks.
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Barry Blackwood


Post Posted 27 Sep 2017 8:00 am     Reply with quote

Here's one..
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragtime
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John Swain


From:
Newberry,SC
Post Posted 27 Sep 2017 9:01 am     Reply with quote

Not necessarily fast, listen to "the Entertainer" or "Maple Leaf Rag". I believe a true rag has 4 parts like the Troubadour's "Steel Guitar Rag".JS
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 27 Sep 2017 10:09 am     Reply with quote

I've always considered "Alice's Restaurant" to be a rag and it's not in a fast tempo.
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John Ed Kelly


From:
Victoria, Australia
Post Posted 2 Oct 2017 5:19 pm     Reply with quote

Joe Burke wrote: ''I suppose rag comes from ragtime? I suppose it needs to be an instrumental, and it needs to swing and be fast...''

*Rag does indeed come from ragtime

*I have not heard of a ragtime number with a vocal, that's not to say some one has not written one.

*Rags do not need to be fast (ie) ''Solace'' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOwachalNNw -A beautiful number, almost classical in performance. The ragtime pianists of the 19th-20th century were classically trained.

*A ragtime number is a multi-theme piece, quite often in multiple keys.

Rags can be played on any instrument, but specifically they were written for piano. Here's one played on guitar by Craig Ventresco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJoUM-DsOKQ

Here's the Chris Barber band from the UK in the mid 1950s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wu6yg0TnBY

And, here's Chris Barber and rhythm (he's playing the all the four trombone parts) with Cole Smoak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqa1VxlX864

Finally there is Climax Rag (a fast piece) recorded by the George Lewis band in 1945: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJsJJUR5MC8 I have played this one many times in my other life as a clarinet player. It's a standard New Orleans tune.

P.S. I just thought of Ernesto Nazareth, a Brazilian composer. He never recorded as far I am aware, but a CD of his compositions is here on YT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5iMSgCg-s8 Nazareth was very much influenced by Scott Joplin, ans it's obvious in some the pieces on this CD.

Happy listening.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 1:48 pm     Reply with quote

so...Mop Rag or M-O-P-P**** R-A-G-G, or R-A-G-G**** M-O-P-P, the Wills/Anderson 12 bar blues tune, would not be considered a rag? Or is it an inference to the style...maybe has nothing at all to do with rag or ragtime?...just coincidence concerning the word Rag?
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 2:35 pm     Reply with quote

"Rag" as a title has probably been used inaccurately to get attention just as "blues" has been.

Ragtime seems to have developed out of a syncopated march. Here is an example from the vast body of much-maligned work by Edward Taylor Paull, a contemporary of Scott Joplin who dealt in military two-steps. It's squarer than Joplin but has some of the same feel:-

http://merrittshillmusic.com/product/jol/the-jolly-blacksmiths/
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John Ed Kelly


From:
Victoria, Australia
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 3:13 pm     Reply with quote

Jerry wrote: ''...so...Mop Rag or M-O-P-P**** R-A-G-G, or R-A-G-G**** M-O-P-P, the Wills/Anderson 12 bar blues tune, would not be considered a rag?...''

If you can post a link to this number I'll have a listen. If it is, as you say, a 12 bar tune, then it probably won't qualify.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 3:18 pm     Reply with quote

https://youtu.be/ot4TBHn14WI

Johnnie Lee Wills and Boys. Written by Steel Guitarist Deacon Anderson.

The Ames Brothers version might be the best known.
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John Ed Kelly


From:
Victoria, Australia
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 5:07 pm     Reply with quote

''...Johnnie Lee Wills and Boys. Written by Steel Guitarist Deacon Anderson...''

Not ragtime...it's more like rockabilly.
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Russ Wever


From:
Kansas City
Post Posted 4 Nov 2017 7:54 pm     Reply with quote

back in the day . .
syncopation caused the momentum of
the music seem 'ragged . . hence 'rag'.
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