"This Land Is Your Land" is one of the United States'most famous folk songs, written by American folk singerWoodie Guthrie. Guthrie traveled around America during the Great Depression and inspired folks with his patriotic and uplifting songs.
Listen to our song of the week here.
Musician of the Week:
U.S.A. 1867 - 1917
Music Listening Example:
Maple Leaf Rag
Scott Joplin was an African-American composer and pianist of the early 20th-century. He was the leading composer of ragtime, and was later titled the "King of Ragtime". Ragtime is a lively, rhythmic style of music written mostly for the piano but arranged for community bands and orchestras. The word ragtime is short for "ragged" time, where the rhythm is syncopated and important notes fall inbetween beats instead of directly on the beat. This gives the music its jazzy feeling. Joplin was one of the first to play in this new style.
During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the Maple Leaf Rag, became ragtime's first and most influential hit. It has been recognized as the archetypal rag, or the standard for other composers to measure up to.
LISTEN FOR . . . A typical rag has several contrasting sections that often repeat, and they are usually upbeat and lively.
MUSIC LISTENING LINK
Music Listening Example:
Temptation Rag and The Two Step
As the son of a former slave, Joplin grew up in Texarkana. He sang in a vocal quartet, taught mandolin, guitar and piano. He spent time working on the railroads and traveling around the southern states as a musician. Sometimes Joplin played piano at saloons and dance-halls. Ragtime was great dancing music in the early 1900's, especially for the new dance called the "two-step". Many of Joplin's rags had catchy titles, such as Pineapple Rag.
Joplin was able to go to the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, which played a major part in making ragtime music a national craze by the end of the 1800's. It was played everywhere.
Joplin was one of the fathers of American jazz. He began publishing his music in 1895. The publication of his Maple Leaf Rag in 1899 brought him fame. This piece had a great influence on future writers of ragtime, and brought the composer a steady income for life. Joplin died at the age of 49, and his death is considered to mark the end of ragtime as a mainstream music. However, in the next several years, it joined with other styles which developed into jazz.
LISTEN FOR . . . Solace is a slow, tranquil Mexican serenade similar to the dance known as a tango. The word solace means 'comfort'.
As American jazz developed in the early 1900's, ragtime music was replaced by other styles, such as blues, swing, Dixieland and others. Years later, Joplin's music was rediscovered and returned to popularity in the early 1970's. This was followed by the Academy Award winning movie, The Sting, that featured several of his compositions, including "The Entertainer" and the movie theme, "Solace".
In 1976, Joplin was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to some of the first, original USA music.
Our listening example is “The Entertainer”. If you don’t recognize it be the title, you will probably recognize it when you hear it. Almost everyone is familiar with “The Entertainer”, which is probably Joplin’s most well-known ragtime piece.
In 1976, Joplin was posthumously (which means after death) awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to some of the first, original USA music. The Pulitzer Prize is kind of a big deal. It is awarded, in the US only, once a year to individuals who display excellence in writing, reporting, or music composition.
During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. His opera “Treemonisha” is considered a folk-opera of ragtime, spirituals and pre-blues.
Today's Listening example:
Today’s listening example is titled “A Real Slow Drag”. It is an aria sung by the main character, Treemonisha”. Can you tell why they call it a drag?