This webpage was started on 3rd March, 2003 and deals with adaptions of music from the cakewalk ragtime era, very roughly from 1880 to 1923, for the recorder. There are lists of available sheet music at DBE that I have adapted, works not yet adapted , pieces wanted for adaptation, ragtime composers and ragtime books as well as downloadable catalogues (*.PDF format) of all current recorder ragtime works available at DBE
Why Ragtime Music for the Recorder?
My simple answer is why not!! My interest in ragtime first started when I first came across the Hugh Blake arrangement of Scott Joplin's Fig Leaf Rag in Consort With A Swing for a recorder quartet (descant, treble, tenor and bass). I was so enchanted that thereafter I was always on the look-out for more ragtime music for the recorder and over the years purchased everything I came across. Considering the vast amount of recorder literature available, literally thousands of items of sheet music, the percentage of this dedicated to ragtime is abysmally small.
Delightful and charming as these few items are/were, I was always just a little disappointed because of the resulting thin sound partly due no doubt to the inexperience of myself and players involved (a notable exception is the Stan Davis arrangement of Paul Desmond's Take Five). It was not until 1998 however, when I worked on my first Joplin arrangement, The Augustan Club Waltzes (1901) together with Blue Tuesday, that I finally realised what the problem was. All the recorder ragtime works which I purchased had the same property, they all were either arranged for the traditional recorder consort (D/A/T/B) ensuring that each voice had plenty to do. Completely artificial and quite opposed to the composers intentions with regard especially to the lower registers. For my taste, a recorder adaptation of ragtime era music should retain the same keys and all the notes as intended by the composer. That generally means that a "traditional" recorder quartet cannot meet this requirement - lots of tenors, basses are needed along with a great bass and where possible a contra bass. In addition the ensemble players should generally be able to play all voices. In the 1246 pieces which I have adapted as of 08.05.13, not one has the D/A/T/B format - quintets and sextets are the rule with plenty of doubling and nifty instrument changing.
Adapting the music of the ragtime era (the music that I love) for the recorder (the instrument that I love) is a great joy and immensely satisfying. Finally I have the music I always wanted to play and am looking forward to performing these delights with The Bremen Recorder Touring Company and others in the near future.
A final word. There is a vast amount of ragtime era music available and can be adapted for the recorder, surfers' suggestions, comments and anecdotes are very welcome.
Geoff Grainger, Sunday, 3rd March 2003.