Elite Syncopations

Elite Syncopations

by Scott Joplin


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When Scott Joplin wrote his ragtime compositions between 1899 and 1917, they often turned up on player pianos. The player piano roll not only served to entertain audiences crazed for syncopation, but also to preserve the music for the next generation. Unfortunately, a number of Joplin's creations were either never recorded on piano rolls during his lifetime or can no longer be found. That's where Elite Syncopations comes in. Many of these recordings were taken from the collection of Hal Boulware. In the 1960s, Boulware filled the gaps of missing Joplin pieces by faithfully re-creating piano rolls out of printed scores. While certain pieces -- like "Maple Leaf Rag" -- are familiar, there's a subtle difference. On "Maple Leaf Rag," "Ole Miss Rag," and "Magnetic Rag," the piano rolls have been scored from Joplin's own solo work. The King of the Ragtime Writers was reportedly a good pianist, though no more than six of his solos survive. "Ole Miss Rag" -- the one piece by W.C. Handy -- comes from a rare piano roll (the only known copy), while "Silver Swan Rag" was only unearthed in 1970. Rare or not, these recordings have the same fresh vibrancy as other Joplin compositions. Elite Syncopations will entice Joplin fans while also serving as a fine introduction to his work.

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