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MMD > Archives > December 2002 > 2002.12.17 > 03Prev  Next

Gottschalk & Origins of Ragtime
By Tomi Hayashi

-- non-subscriber, please reply to sender and MMD --

I have been thinking about this subject, too, and read some exchanges
in this forum.  Not being a scholarly type, I do not care whether Joplin
heard any Gottschalk (although I would doubt it; despite a number of
Gottschalk rolls being available, his music had, _in general,_ dropped
out of sight not too long after his death.  Scan a few concert programs
and see how much there is.)

No, at this point I am concerned with the intermix of African and
Spanish influences (read "Caribbean & South American") in his music.
So I ask: is anyone here familiar with _pure_, i.e., un-African
influenced, Spanish popular music of the 1830s-40s?  Does it have the
characteristics of ragtime, such as a Habanera might?

It is clear to me (without experts to quote) that Gottschalk took
what he heard and elaborated on it.  What he heard included "raggy"
syncopations, but they seem to mostly appear in his Caribbean-flavored
music.  "The Banjo" is the only piece I am familiar with that is _not_
Spanish/Caribbean, and contains "ragged" time, and that only in the
intro.  On the other hand, many of the Caribbean pieces contain a
ragged rhythm that is clearly Caribbean.

Which came first, Spanish rag or African?  I believe it was African,
but am ignorant of Spanish music.  Can anyone comment?

Tomi Hayashi

 [ Ed Berlin wrote in 980731 MMDigest:
 [>> Much of what Gottschalk wrote has similarities with ragtime,
 [>> but that is not sufficient evidence to conclude that Gottschalk
 [>> had a direct influence on ragtimers.  What evidence indicates
 [>> "it's almost a certainty"?
 [>> From Joplin's comments and from reading reports of concert programs
 [>> at which he may have been present, I have some idea of the music he
 [>> was familiar with:  Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Moszkowski,
 [>> Waeniarski, Meyerbeer, Grieg, Chaminade, Weber, d'Albert, Nevin.
 [> Gottschalk is never mentioned.  Neither was Gottschalk mentioned
 [> by Joplin's publisher, John Stark, in his many advertisements and
 [> interviews.  Nor, from my perusal of many hundreds -- probably thou-
 [> sands -- of newspapers of the period, do I recall seeing Gottschalk
 [> [compositions] listed in any concert program.  (This does not mean
 [> that he was not on programs, but I seriously doubt that he had any
 [> prominence during this period.)
 [> Ed Berlin
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Tue 17 Dec 2002, 21:29:48 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Gottschalk, Origins, Ragtime

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