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#1222837 - 06/25/09 09:06 PM A Ragtime Thunderstorm  
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 848
Hrodulf Offline
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Hrodulf  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 848
New York City
I wrote this four strain rag over the last two days. The original title was
Thunderstorm Rag but I found that was taken so I reworked the title. The rag is
intended to simulate a thunderstorm by the selective use of chromaticism and the
"thunder" theme which appears at the introduction to the rag and at the end of
the first strain. The other strains contain elements of this theme as well,
worked into the fabric of the rag.

The first two strains were rewritten after being composed yesterday, with the
second strain being almost totally rewritten.

http://www.deviantart.com/download/127147523/A_Ragtime_Thunderstorm_by_Hrodulf.mid

Last edited by Hrodulf; 06/25/09 09:31 PM.

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#1222928 - 06/26/09 03:05 AM Re: A Ragtime Thunderstorm [Re: Hrodulf]  
Joined: Jun 2009
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beet31425 Offline
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beet31425  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,169
Bay Area, CA
Hrodulf-

This is fantastic! My favorite rag of yours that I've heard.

Chromaticism sometimes gets tiresome, but not here. Because you combine it with other, non-chromatic-- but unpredictable!-- progressions, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire piece. My mouth dropped open with the audaciousness of some of those changes, and you made them all work. A total harmonic delight.

My only dissatisfaction is with the ending of the piece, and it's not really your fault; it's an issue I have with the traditional form. Many rags generally seem to end abruptly for me... maybe because I'm expecting the return of the first strain, or I'm expecting some large-scale coda. I'd have loved to hear a "fifth strain" coda here.

Anyway, keep up the great work.


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1223026 - 06/26/09 10:29 AM Re: A Ragtime Thunderstorm [Re: beet31425]  
Joined: Feb 2009
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Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Hrodulf  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 848
New York City
I'm glad you like it, I sometimes write codas but I didn't here. Typically I include a coda if I need to return the rag to its home key, for instance if the rag was in A, and the first two strains were in A, and the last two in D, and I don't want to end the rag in D (which I sometimes do anyway), I will write a coda to return to A. There was no need to do that here. I didn't even think of writing a coda or a fifth strain. It's sort of how I sometimes write a three strain rag instead of a four strain rag; of course I could go on and write a fourth strain, but some rags just sound finished to me after three strains, and I end them there. Perhaps the same issue was at work here. This must have sounded like a suitable ending to me without a coda or another strain. I have never written a five strain rag and probably most of my rags are three strain rags.

As for bringing back the first strain, I don't like to bring the first strain back at the end of the rag if I used it in the middle of the rag after the second strain, since to me this is usually redundant. If I bring it back at the end, typically I go straight from the second strain to the third strain. Also since the intent of this rag was to depict a distant thunderstorm that was receding, this intent would have been defeated by bringing back the first strain, with its "thunder" motif, at the end of the rag.

Another issue with the ending could be that this was a midi playback, and a human performer might have been able to make the ending work better musically by judicious use of tempo and dynamics.

Last edited by Hrodulf; 06/26/09 11:11 AM.

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#1223101 - 06/26/09 12:15 PM Re: A Ragtime Thunderstorm [Re: Hrodulf]  
Joined: Jun 2009
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beet31425 Offline
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beet31425  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,169
Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted by Hrodulf

Another issue with the ending could be that this was a midi playback, and a human performer might have been able to make the ending work better musically by judicious use of tempo and dynamics.


Good point. Now that I think about it, I sometimes feel a similar dissatisfaction at the end of Conlon Nancarrow's studies for player piano. It's probably hard to program a machine to end a piece correctly, and I imagine a human would do more justice to your piece's ending.

But I don't want my small comment about the ending to eclipse my main feeling towards the composition, which are very positive.


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1223139 - 06/26/09 01:14 PM Re: A Ragtime Thunderstorm [Re: beet31425]  
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 848
Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Hrodulf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 848
New York City
I think the last strain came out pretty well. Since I'm not trying to sell these and since I'm a beginner I don't consider anything I write to really be finished. I have a pile of changes to make to rags I wrote months ago that I hope to implement this weekend, I wouldn't be surprised if someday I come up with changes for this one also.


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