Sunday, October 8, 2017
What is "real" ragtime music? Look no further than Scott Joplin's piano music. John Stark knew what was good, real. Joplin's is different that the rest. The best way to find out is to play it for yourself. It's easier than ever to get your hands on his classic piano style. If you don't want to pay for it, visit your local library. I bet they have a copy of the Dover edition sheet music. Learn all of them that he wrote. You wouldn't regret it!
The above ad was published in a January 1906 copy of the Etude that I found recently. Stark had moved to New York City to try and compete with all the big sheet music businesses springing up in what was to become known as Tin Pan Alley. Joplin followed him there. Unfortunately they had a bit of a falling out. I think they made amends before Joplin died though. I don't think Stark stayed in New York too long after that, and went back to Missouri. He couldn't really compete.
Doesn't that always seem to be the way? The public just doesn't recognize true art, sincere art, "real" art when they see it. They just want what is easy. The public can't go deeper than surface level.
That's okay though. Music like Joplin's isn't really for the general public. It isn't disposable. It was never meant to be consumed, and then thrown away, like much other so called "ragtime" music after him. His music is a medicine. It heals. It bridges disparities. If you're having a bad day, find a way to hear his music. Better yet, go play some of it yourself. Just 4 bars of one of his tunes, and you'll be good for the rest of the week.