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Joplin & pedal? #433366
02/15/09 07:19 PM
02/15/09 07:19 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 656
Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Is Joplin, and other ragtime music, generally played without pedal? I don't see any markings in most of the pieces, however, a few have them. Thanks laugh


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
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Re: Joplin & pedal? #433367
02/15/09 07:29 PM
02/15/09 07:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
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Betty Patnude Offline
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Puyallup, Washington
I wonder if the piano pedals in the bordellos worked at all? Can anyone speak about the condition of pianos in Joplin's public piano playing.

Condition of the piano would have a lot to do with the style of the playing, it would have to be composed to fit the limitations of the instrument.

Another factor would be the social noise of the people in the room, having food and drink, and a smoke filled room as well as a musicale of entertainment and background music.

Just some random thoughts, not a concert scenario, which would be entirely different.

Re: Joplin & pedal? #433368
02/15/09 09:16 PM
02/15/09 09:16 PM
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Posts: 384
Nottingham, U.K.
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Fraggle Offline
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I nearly always use pedal, sometimes I just bring it in on the repeats.


Will
Re: Joplin & pedal? #433369
02/15/09 10:38 PM
02/15/09 10:38 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,198
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
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About 30 years ago I met an elderly gentleman in a small town in Nebraska who had actually known Scott Joplin. He made it very clear to me (after hearing my rendition of "The Entertainer") that most modern performers play Joplin's music too fast. I also recall that he used an ample amount of pedal when he played.....and the tempos were fairly slow.


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Re: Joplin & pedal? #433370
02/15/09 11:32 PM
02/15/09 11:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 105
Canada
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CD131 Offline
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Joplin often marked his rags as, "Not Fast". The pedal is needed, but judiciously, to enhance not only the harmonies, but to assist in creating the rhythmic pulse of the music. Using it too much obscures the nuances of the syncopations. Joining the bass note or octave to the upper chord in the middle register can assist in adding resonance to the sound, and enhancing the rhythmic pulse, without muddying the melody. Of course, there are times when one can mix sounds for longer periods of time, especially to create variation in colours.


Steinway D, Pramberger 185, pianist-teacher
Re: Joplin & pedal? #433371
02/15/09 11:59 PM
02/15/09 11:59 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,811
San Jose, CA
Jeff Clef Offline
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San Jose, CA
A quick look through "Collected Piano Works" shows that many of the scores have pedal markings. At least one is marked with instructions to Stomp, though I doubt he meant the pedal. But many of them carry a box saying, "Do not play this piece fast! It is never right to play Ragtime fast. Composer." I would think it would be hard to make the pieces sound well at a moderate tempo without using some pedal.

As to the quality of pianos in whorehouses of the period, I've never been to one... but I understand that establishments ranged widely from very upscale places, down to the bargain basement of the demi-monde, and probably their pianos with them. Though it was the golden age of the piano, and maybe the general quality was higher than it later became after the World Wars, the Depression, and the advent of mass media.

Clef

PS. I've never read that the "professors" in the parlors complained about the pianos, but I have heard that quite a few concert artists find fault with theirs. But, they say, that's the breaks, and they play them anyway. Maybe times haven't changed so much in that way.


Clef

Re: Joplin & pedal? #433372
02/16/09 12:41 AM
02/16/09 12:41 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,829
Auckland, New Zealand
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Ted Offline
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Auckland, New Zealand
I usually use a brief pedal with some of the bass octaves, especially in the slower rags. A sharp, detached sound is nice in places too though; it depends on what you like.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Joplin & pedal? [Re: Ted] #1165904
03/20/09 02:21 PM
03/20/09 02:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12
UK
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sunfly Offline
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UK
Mostly ragtime was played by professional pianists in above all what was termed drinking establishments.Ragtime was fairly convenient for playing over lengthy sessions with not having to remember lots of different tunes note for note but ragging chords.So it was a sort of no frills type playing over what could be a 12 hour piano playing session.By the way one such working pianist left the USA to play ragtime piano in the music halls of the UK when ragtime was at its peak.When hired by the music hall manager he was amazed to find he only had to play for 20 minutes.Maybe he was extravagant enough to use the pedal in that case.

Re: Joplin & pedal? [Re: sunfly] #1165965
03/20/09 04:20 PM
03/20/09 04:20 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,792
New York City
pianoloverus Online content
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I think this is a good speed for the Maple Leaf Rag:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RISjp-d38-0

I think Joplin often indicated not to play his rags too fast because the style of many ragtime pianists of the day was to play very fast.

For those that think the above performance is too fast here is a recording of Joplin himself playing his MLR and the timimg is virtually the same. Interestingly enough Joplin does not play even eighths but plays swing eighths like the Swanson recording. But Swanson is an infinitely better pianist(even taking into account the two pianos vs. one) IMHO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc

Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/20/09 04:33 PM.
Re: Joplin & pedal? [Re: pianoloverus] #1166160
03/20/09 11:22 PM
03/20/09 11:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 105
Canada
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CD131 Offline
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Canada
How could this be Joplin himself? He died in 1917 at the age of 49 from syphylis. I know of no piano rolls that he made, even after he moved from St. Louis to New York in 1907.


Steinway D, Pramberger 185, pianist-teacher
Re: Joplin & pedal? [Re: CD131] #1166291
03/21/09 10:17 AM
03/21/09 10:17 AM
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Posts: 51
North Carolina
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KatieB Offline
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North Carolina
I can honestly say that I have never seen a bad piano in a whorehouse wink

Re: Joplin & pedal? [Re: CD131] #1166317
03/21/09 11:16 AM
03/21/09 11:16 AM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by CD131
How could this be Joplin himself? He died in 1917 at the age of 49 from syphylis. I know of no piano rolls that he made, even after he moved from St. Louis to New York in 1907.



I just found about Joplin in Dubal's "The Art of the Piano":

"Near the end of his sad life he made a few piano rolls that give no idea of his true pianistic ability."

Re: Joplin & pedal? [Re: pianoloverus] #1166433
03/21/09 03:35 PM
03/21/09 03:35 PM
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Bhav Offline
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In the maple leaf rag I like to sustain the bass notes in the second and third sections, meaning the 'oom of the oom pah' but you have to release sharply before playing the next chord.

I use lots of sustain in the first section to bring out the full power and length of the bass notes, but no sustain in the last section.

I just listened to lots of recordings of the piece and tried to make it sound as good as the brilliant performances on youtube, and am now trying to perfect the piece with no mistakes, hopefully in time for my cellphone upgrade next week to a nice new model with a good resolution video capture for youtube videos of my performance of this and future pieces.


Currently working on:

Joplin -

Maple Leaf Rag (finished)
Magnetic Rag (finished :))
The Entertainer
Stoptime Rag
Pineapple Rag
The Chrysanthemum
Reflection Rag

- Lots of rags to learn frown.
Re: Joplin & pedal? [Re: Bhav] #1167284
03/23/09 12:43 PM
03/23/09 12:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 22
Brooklyn, NY
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Brooklyn, NY
Maple Leaf Rag is a good time. The only spot I use the pedal is those little minor key parts in the first section. I'm probably playing it too fast as well though, still haven't hacked that last page either

The Entertainer is a bit more relaxed and ponderous, I imagine I would use a good deal more pedal in that one.


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