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MMD > Archives > October 2010 > 2010.10.12 > 08Prev  Next

Scott Joplin's "Silver Swan Rag," a Lost Roll?
By Art Reblitz

In 1982 and 1983, the late Terry Borne, a pipe organ and orchestrion
technician and avid H-roll enthusiast from Louisville, Kentucky,
commissioned me to arrange several ragtime pieces for a new style H
orchestrion roll, including "Maple Leaf Rag," "Grace and Beauty," "Frog
Legs," and "Silver Swan."  To this group, he added others copied from
original H rolls to make a composite 10-tune ragtime H roll, and had it
hand-punched by the late Mike Kitner.  Since then, Carl Lambie has made
additional copies, editing the rhythm to correct the minor inaccuracies
of the initial hand-punched version.

It was my understanding at the time that the sheet music that Terry
sent me had been transcribed from a style M orchestrion roll, the only
roll of the tune that had ever been found.  Before about 1920, M rolls
were arranged and perforated for Marquette Piano Co. by QRS, and
adapted from original QRS drawing-board piano roll arrangements made
before the introduction of the Word Roll series.  I assume the tune
originally appeared on a QRS piano roll, and the M roll adaptation
remains the only one that has ever been found.  I've seen only the re-
created sheet music, not the M roll.

If anyone knows who found the M roll and who transcribed it onto sheet
music, that would be of interest.  Also, did John Malone or anyone else
ever adapt a new 88-note piano roll arrangement from the M roll and
market it?

Art Reblitz

(Message sent Tue 12 Oct 2010, 13:00:23 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Joplin's, Lost, Rag, Roll, Scott, Silver, Swan

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