Chewin' the Rag (1912)
Last updated: 16.10.17
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Composer: F.D. Heltman Suppliers: dbe15.gif
Editor: Geoff Grainger Sextet D/A/T/T+B/B/GB(B)
Publisher: Ditty Box Enterprises Publication: DBE 901
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Length: approx. 3¾ mins.
Chewin' the Rag, also published as a song, was as proclaimed on the cover of the original sheet music "another big hit". Here, Fred Heltman is photographed as a dapper but serious young man in a studied pose at the piano. The title celebrates of course mankind's passion for whiling away the time by chatting and or grumbling (some also say chewing the fat). The rag itself has a quasi-sonata form of AABBACCA with a 4-bar introduction whereby the A-strain is of 20 bars and the others are of 16 bars. The A-strain is a lovely tootling affair which in this transcription for recorder sextet, is performed by the treble voice whilst the descant and 1st tenor sit it out having ample time to chew the rag in both senses of the phrase whilst waiting for the B- and C-strains and their moments of glory. At least the descant can read this description which is printed on the reverse side of his or her part. A great ensemble piece!
Chewin' the Rag was published by Fred Heltman Co., Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
A tempo of 80 crotchets/min. is suggested..