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* Ragtime Classics: 17 Keyboard Favorites.

* Ragtime Classics: 17 Keyboard Favorites, arranged by Phillip Keveren. Hal Leonard Corp. (7777 W. Bluemound Rd., P.O. Box 13819, Milwaukee, WI 53213), 2006. 59 pp. $10.95.

Phillip Keveren has successfully created settings of classic ragtime works that accurately capture the spirit of the originals, while simplifying the technical demands for the intermediate pianist.

These carefully crafted arrangements maintain a consistent level of accessibility. This is achieved, in part, by an avoidance of octaves in both hands. The right hand is mostly single line writing with occasional sixths, thirds and triads. In the left hand, there is a predominance of single-note writing with a limited tessitura. Some of the tonalities are altered to create more user-friendly key signatures. These truncated arrangements generally utilize only two of the usual four 16-bar strains from the original rags. For example, strains Cand D of the "Maple Leaf Rag" and the "Entertainer" are omitted.

According to the title, the collection contains 17 keyboard favorites. With the exception of Scott Joplin's works and Bowman's "12th Street Rag," "favorites" probably refer more to the historical popularity of these works, rather than any contemporary perception. Therefore, an important strength of this collection is the potential to expand the student and teacher's knowledge of ragtime composers beyond Joplin's established contributions. In addition to Joplin's five included works, the arranger has included four works by Joseph Lamb and single works by L. E. Colburn, James Scott, Will Held, Tom Turpin, Percy Wenrich, Charles Hunter, Euday L. Bowman and Ted Snyder. In the spirit of developing interest in the individual composers and their historical place in music history, inclusion of brief composer biographies and composition dates would have enhanced the value of this collection.

Ragtime Classics: 17 Keyboard Favorites is a representative collection attractively edited and easy to read. This publication is a valuable contribution for the profession's growing interest in ragtime, a significant American genre. Paul B. Stewart, NCTM, Greensboro, North Carolina.
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Author:Stewart, Paul B.
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2006
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