Tag Archives: Scott Joplin

Blogging, Cats and Ragtime

Sometimes I just have one of those Fridays…you know, the kind of Friday were absolutely no inspiration strikes. So I thought I would cheat and share a video I found on youtube, demonstrating the hazards of working at home (or blogging) with a cat around.

My cat’s not quite this active, but she definitely makes her presence known. I’ll be sitting in intense thought, typing something up, when I’ll feel something knock against my chair. That is the preliminary “head bonk,” the initial signaling of her presence. Then she meows and gets up on her back paws and pats me on the arm. Next is the jumping up on the desk and walking over my keyboard, sometimes going so far as to plop herself on my lap and purr intensely. She also likes to roll on her stomach and look as cute as possible so that she can distract me and possibly lure me into playing with her. She’s like a femme fatale, using her cuteness as a weapon. She’s even stolen my chair and reduced me to sitting on the floor while I work.

Incidentally, the music that accompanies the video is called “Fig Leaf Rag,” written by Scott Joplin in 1908, though it does seem to be played a little fast. My piano teacher told me years ago that rag is often played too fast nowadays. Most people I know (including myself) tend to associate rag with very fast, fun loving music, but that’s not entirely accurate. Rag can also be poignant, sad, dreamy, many things.

And actually Scott Joplin did not intend his music to be taken as light entertainment. He considered himself a serious composer who was conversant with classical music and wanted his music to be taken as seriously as classical music. Unlike previous ragtime composers, he meant for his music to be played exactly as he wrote them, without improvisation, like any other classical work.

Here is an example of the same song, “Fig Leaf Rag,” played at a slower pace by Joshua Rifkin, who helped to re-popularize ragtime in the 1970s (following the success of the film The Sting, which employed a lot of ragtime in the soundtrack).


Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Music


Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: