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Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #355998
03/01/03 01:59 AM
03/01/03 01:59 AM
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bond Offline OP
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I would be interested in getting the group's opinion as to the difficulty level on the original version of Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag on a scale of 1-10 10, being most difficult.

Thanks


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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #355999
03/01/03 02:17 AM
03/01/03 02:17 AM
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3.7


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356000
03/01/03 02:45 AM
03/01/03 02:45 AM
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3.7??? I was thinking more 3.675 to 3.68 actually


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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356001
03/01/03 05:01 AM
03/01/03 05:01 AM
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Redlands
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I give it a 4.

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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356002
03/01/03 10:58 AM
03/01/03 10:58 AM
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Phoenix, AZ
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Yep, it's pretty easy-- lots of repeats. If you've never played syncopation that will take some getting used to, but once you've got it, shouldn't be any problems.

It's fun, and almost everyone likes to hear it.

Nina

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356003
03/01/03 01:44 PM
03/01/03 01:44 PM
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Yonkers, NY
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I'll give the "Maple Leaf Rag" a 5, however I am going to give "The Cascades" a 6.


A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of. - Burt Bacharach
Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356004
03/01/03 02:57 PM
03/01/03 02:57 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by PerfectPitch:
I'll give the "Maple Leaf Rag" a 5, however I am going to give "The Cascades" a 6.
Yes, I'd say it was a 4 or 5. As the last poster mentioned, once you've got used to syncopation, most of the rags will be easy'ish.

Although I play quite a few rags, one of my favourites is actually "Solace" - try this one first to get used to the rhythms involved(technically any intermediate pianist could sight read it) before going on to the others.

Also agree with PerfectPitch on Cascades, it takes a little more effort to make it sound good.

Regards,

Gary.

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356005
03/01/03 05:26 PM
03/01/03 05:26 PM
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If it's just a matter of playing all the notes correctly and up to speed, about 2. If it's a matter of imparting the special feeling of the piece, then about 6 for a jazz pianist and about 8 for a purely classically trained pianist - until he gets used to ragtime, which in my experience takes quite a long time - some never get it. This piece, indeed all ragtime, is played thousands of times by thousands of people and so very rarely achieves that serendipitous effect it can produce in the right hands.

If you need an example, listen to Scott Kirby or David Thomas Roberts.


"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley
Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356006
03/02/03 01:35 AM
03/02/03 01:35 AM
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Seattle, Washington, USA
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For the first half of it, about 3 to 4 but for the end, maybe a 5 or 6??? But then again, thats just me, and I never really was any good at rag! laugh


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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356007
03/02/03 01:36 AM
03/02/03 01:36 AM
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BTW, Bond, I love your grand piano signature!


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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356008
03/02/03 01:52 AM
03/02/03 01:52 AM
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Oklahoma City
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Ted has it exactly right.


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356009
03/02/03 02:06 AM
03/02/03 02:06 AM
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Iowa City, IA
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That's a cop-out...the stipulation that imparting musicality is a requirement tends to make every piece a 10 for those who don't "get it" and a 1 for those who do.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356010
03/02/03 03:36 PM
03/02/03 03:36 PM
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It can't be that hard if I'm learning it one year into lessons.

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356011
03/02/03 04:15 PM
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It is possible that someone would rate a piece lower (on the 1-10 scale) to give the impression that they are a better player (or not rate higher in fear of giving the impression of being a poor player) in a survey such as this.

I really liked poster Praetorian_AD's qualifier from the Topic: Chopin "Heroic" Polonaise in Ab Major thread - "on a scale of every significant work in the solo piano repertoire from Mozart's Bagatelles to Alkan's Concerto for Solo Piano"

PerfectPitch's comments about the Cascades were quite informitive - I had always assumed that the Maple Leaf was Joplin's hardest


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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356012
03/02/03 05:36 PM
03/02/03 05:36 PM
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Auckland, New Zealand
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That's a cop-out...the stipulation that imparting musicality is a requirement tends to make every piece a 10 for those who don't "get it" and a 1 for those who do.

Kreisler is right, but then the whole notion of ascribing a number on a linear scale of difficulty is at best no more than a crude general indication.


"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: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356013
03/02/03 06:28 PM
03/02/03 06:28 PM
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The maple leaf rag is quite a grand song. The simpsons use that song alot along with the old charlie chaplin movies.(but I guess you guys know that by now)


" I shall poop with all my might!!!"
Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356014
03/02/03 06:45 PM
03/02/03 06:45 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by valarking:
It can't be that hard if I'm learning it one year into lessons.
Are you learning the original or a simplified version? It would be almost unheard of to be able to play this piece in the original version after only one year of lessons. In fact, I would say that more than 90% of people who play piano will never have the chops to play the Maple Leaf in tempo.

And I agree with the poster who said that assigning pieces a numerical ranking on a 1-10 scale is silly. It makes more sense to use words like Beginner. Intermediate etc. although these are also somewhat vague. It makes even more sense to rate the difficulty level of a piece by comparing it to a well known works (this is the method used in Clavier Magazine).

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356015
03/02/03 06:56 PM
03/02/03 06:56 PM
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I have just started to play the piano and I guess this maple leaf rag is rather difficult and so at my view it would be around 6 or 7.

"only I may poop on my own lawn"


" I shall poop with all my might!!!"
Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356016
03/02/03 06:57 PM
03/02/03 06:57 PM
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Oklahoma City
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Quote
Originally posted by Ted:
[b]That's a cop-out...the stipulation that imparting musicality is a requirement tends to make every piece a 10 for those who don't "get it" and a 1 for those who do.

Kreisler is right, but then the whole notion of ascribing a number on a linear scale of difficulty is at best no more than a crude general indication.[/b]
Well, Oookaay...Ted has it exactly wrong. wink

Seriously, I hear a lot of people play ragtime. They get the notes right but they really just don't "get it". That is where Ted has it exactly right. Ragtime is fairly simple. Deceptively so. But then again so is, say, Mozart.


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356017
03/02/03 09:38 PM
03/02/03 09:38 PM
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Auckland, New Zealand
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I think the optimal speed for a given piece of ragtime exists within quite a narrow range. The more common fault is playing too quickly, giving the listener nothing but a cascade of notes and losing the syncopation altogether. Playing too slowly does happen but much less often. Some of Rifkin's playing of Joplin is too slow for me but at least his effect is always musical.

Perhaps it's something to do with how the player approaches the music. If he goes in thinking, "Ah, this is very simple", then the musical effect he'll produce will also be very simple. If he looks more deeply and experiments with phrasing, dynamics and accents then the listener will be given correspondingly more to think about.


"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: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356018
03/02/03 10:28 PM
03/02/03 10:28 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
Quote
Originally posted by valarking:
[b]It can't be that hard if I'm learning it one year into lessons.
Are you learning the original or a simplified version? It would be almost unheard of to be able to play this piece in the original version after only one year of lessons. In fact, I would say that more than 90% of people who play piano will never have the chops to play the Maple Leaf in tempo.

And I agree with the poster who said that assigning pieces a numerical ranking on a 1-10 scale is silly. It makes more sense to use words like Beginner. Intermediate etc. although these are also somewhat vague. It makes even more sense to rate the difficulty level of a piece by comparing it to a well known works (this is the method used in Clavier Magazine).[/b]
Original Version, no arrangements for me.
I can play it anywhere from 80 bpm to 130 bpm, but I play it at 88 bpm most of the time. I'm half way through right now and going at a steady pace.
The Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement is taking a loooong time on the other hand.

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356019
03/02/03 10:57 PM
03/02/03 10:57 PM
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My Spanish teacher said he could play it in 7th grade. Would that be considered good or not? BTW, what is an approximate grade level for this piece?


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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356020
03/02/03 11:21 PM
03/02/03 11:21 PM
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Durham, North Carolina
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I played this piece when I was in the 6th grade in its original version, and even performed it in public a couple of times. I remember it being very fun to play, but was quite taxing on the forearms. My friends used to call me Popeye because of the effect it had on my forearms.

Haven't played it in years. Makes me want to find it and dust it off ...


Regards,
Lyn F.
Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356021
03/03/03 04:37 PM
03/03/03 04:37 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by valarking:
. I'm half way through right now and going at a steady pace.
The Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement is taking a loooong time on the other hand.[/QB]
You haven't gotten to the hardest part yet !

Also, playing the Pathetique well after one year is possible only if you are some kind if pianistic genius (the type who could easily become a performing professional)

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356022
03/03/03 05:26 PM
03/03/03 05:26 PM
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[quote]Originally posted by pianoloverus:
[b]
Code
2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1
   4, 5, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5
But I'm considering:

Code
2, 2, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1
   4, 5, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5
It's pretty fun to work with and I'm progressing slowly, so as not to rush it and ruining fingering and technique.

Right now I'm finished with Turkish March and I will audition for piano class at my new high school with it. I hope I do well.

Now I'm getting off topic though.

I think Maple Leaf Rag is one of Joplin's easier rags.

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356023
03/03/03 05:44 PM
03/03/03 05:44 PM
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valarking sounds like a customer of mine - when we are HALFWAY through, he starts commenting on how easy the ENTIRE project was....... :rolleyes:

Advises that "Maple Leaf Rag is one of Joplin's easier rags" yet he has not finished it!


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Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356024
03/03/03 05:47 PM
03/03/03 05:47 PM
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Quote
Some of Rifkin's playing of Joplin is too slow for me but at least his effect is always musical.
Ted

Great post! I agree that it usually sounds if people are trying to beat the clock when they play Joplin, but I kinda liked Rifkins playing. It seems more elegant at the slower tempo. What's the standard 90bpm?

Bill

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356025
03/03/03 06:15 PM
03/03/03 06:15 PM
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Bill:

That's the right word - "elegant". Rifkin is always that. I think he is superb in the slower, noble or melancholy rags, Fig Leaf, Magnetic and the like. In the more joyous pieces (e.g. Searchlight, Pineapple) I'm very impressed with the playing of Scott Kirby.


"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: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356026
03/04/03 09:59 AM
03/04/03 09:59 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Ted:
Bill:

That's the right word - "elegant". Rifkin is always that. I think he is superb in the slower, noble or melancholy rags, Fig Leaf, Magnetic and the like. In the more joyous pieces (e.g. Searchlight, Pineapple) I'm very impressed with the playing of Scott Kirby.
Do you think the more joyous rags (I would put the Mapole Leaf in that category) should in general be played somewhat faster than the other rags?

Re: Difficulty of Maple Leaf Rag? (original version) #356027
03/04/03 10:08 AM
03/04/03 10:08 AM
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I play the Maple Leaf at a fairly lively tempo but I prefer to play the Pineapple a bit slower. The Magnetic I play maybe somewhere in between. Scott Joplin's New Rag is another fairly lively piece that I play about the same tempo as the Maple Leaf. None of them should be played too fast and that is the tendency as has been stated. However, most recordings I hear seem to miss the point and sound more like they belong as background to a silent film than, really, genuinely soulful music with definite African roots. There is just an elusive quality rhythmically that cannot be captured by musical notation and must be discovered by playing it. Just my .02. Keep the change. laugh


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
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