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MMD > Archives > January 2004 > 2004.01.20 > 01Prev  Next

Composer Pedro de Zulueta & "Fluffy Ruffles"
By Richard Vance

Julian Dyer wrote yesterday in connection with the 'unknown composer'
Pedro De Zulueta: "...I'm not sure just how authentically Mexican
"Fluffy Ruffles" [A British Aeolian roll attributed to him] might be
...  My guess is that our composer was English of Spanish descent..."

"Fluffy ruffles" was a very common term around the turn of the 20th
century, describing vivacious and forward young ladies.  It was derived
from their habit of wearing shirtwaists with thick layers of ruffles on
the front, to enhance their figures.  Several pieces of music with that
title were written:

 'Fluffy Ruffles, A Slow Drag' (1908) by Frank C. Keithley
 'Fluffy Ruffle Girls Rag' (1908) by Marian I. Davis
 'Fluffy Ruffles, Two Step' (1909) by Duane Crabb
 'Fluffy Ruffles, One Step' (1919) by George Hamilton Green

These four were discovered by Warren Trachtman, and can be heard as
MIDIs on his excellent web site:
The G. H. Green version shows up often on lists of old phonograph

Also, I found 'My Irish Fluffy Ruffles' by Albert Gumble (von Tilzer?),
and the musical 'Fluffy Ruffles' by William Francis and Jerome Kern.

The Web is silent about the biographical details for Pedro De Zulueta,
but several of his popular waltzes are mentioned.  So it is entirely
possible that he also wrote a tune called 'Fluffy Ruffles'.

There is one reference to 'You've got to learn the Tango, Tango Song
& Chorus, words & music by P. de Zulueta', published in England by
Chappell & Co, 1913.  So the question remains: was Zulueta a British
composer of all kinds of popular music?  Or was he actually a Latin
American, whose music was given English popular titles when published
in Britain?

Richard Vance

 [ Based on the UK census of 1901, I'd guess that the composer was
 [ a British citizen and his legal name was Zulueta, but he composed
 [ under the old family name of de Zulueta.  As Bryan Cather noted
 [ recently, the whole world was enamoured with the Viennese waltzes
 [ by Strauss and others, and so composers were happily composing to
 [ meet the demand.  Moreover, in 1912, the Argentine tango quickly
 [ became another popular dance craze.
 [ I have a piano roll of the one-step "Fluffy Ruffles" composed by
 [ George Hamilton Green, the virtuoso xylophonist: Imperial 91047,
 [ played by Al Eldridge.  It's a great piano arrangement; the added
 [ interludes slyly interpolate "Nola" and "You're Some Ugly Child"!
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Wed 21 Jan 2004, 01:48:50 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Composer, de, Fluffy, Pedro, Ruffles, Zulueta

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