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"PERFESSOR" BILL EDWARDS
PURPOSE AND GOALS
As a scholar of Ragtime and a performing preservationist of Ragtime piano and Old-Time music I have many definitive goals in mind. First and foremost is to entertain all that come to listen. The music itself is entertainment to many, but the performer needs to strive to enhance that music and inject his best qualities into it. This will ultimately generate more interest in both the music and the performer, and provide good word of mouth for both as well. What I do on the stage is not really a lecture, not so much a seminar, and not strictly a musical show; rather, I would call it an entertainment.
With that in mind, I provide what I call "Enlightenment through entertainment." I prefer the term enlightenment over education due to many pre-conceived notions the public may have towards sterile stage presentations. I would rather have people leaving performances either humming tunes that they heard, marveling at the complexity of the music, or, at the very least saying "I never knew that before." By preserving our musical past we are enhancing a great part of our nationalism, as well as a fresh understanding of history achieved through an entertaining perspective. One of the desired effects of this involves stimulating the interest of a new generation of musicians and participants who will keep Ragtime/Old-Time music alive, just as others have kept the tunes of Mozart, Bach, Handel, and even Gabrieli fresh and in front of the public.
Finally, I would like to set in motion the continued interest of those who would endeavor to learn more about Ragtime music and its many lingering influences, both musical and non-musical. This is continually achieved by a series of musical seminars (not lectures), each tailored to a different aspect of the music, or its effects. While each is entertainment in its own right, these carefully researched presentations are intended as educational tools and enhancements of musical and social studies. They also provide an opportunity for participants to both contribute and to inquire about specific interests. While it may be educating, I would still lean towards the enlightenment aspect. An example of this paradigm made tangible can be found in the MIDI and Sheet music area of my website, http://www.perfessorbill.com.
These are not particularly lofty goals; Just the offspring of my desire to do what I feel I do best, and share it with anyone who is willing to listen. It is a fulfilling method of receiving personal gratification by giving the same to others. Music is a language unto itself, one that evokes any known emotion, and can induce nearly any mood. But it is a language that even the non-fluent can understand and appreciate in the hands of the right interpreter.
"Perfessor" Bill Edwards
703-729-7239 - firstname.lastname@example.org
"PERFESSOR" BILL EDWARDS
PERFORMANCE PIECES: "Perfessor" Bill Edwards will present many styles of music from the Ragtime Era and associated genres, such as Novelty and early Stride piano. Most of the songs and rags performed will be from the following selections:
|Maple Leaf Rag||1899||Scott Joplin|
|The Entertainer||1902||Scott Joplin|
|Gladiolus Rag||1907||Scott Joplin|
|The Nonpareil||1907||Scott Joplin|
|Fig Leaf Rag||1908||Scott Joplin|
|Paragon Rag||1909||Scott Joplin|
|Magnetic Rag||1914||Scott Joplin|
|The Great Crush Collision March||1896||Scott Joplin|
|Efficiency Rag||1917||James Scott|
|Grace and Beauty||1909||James Scott|
|Muskoka Falls - Indian Idyl||1902||Joseph F. Lamb/Bill Edwards|
|American Beauty Rag||1913||Joseph F. Lamb|
|Ragtime Nightingale||1915||Joseph F.Lamb|
|Bohemia||1919||Joseph F. Lamb|
|Pastime Rags #1, 2, 3, 4, 5||1916||Artie Matthews|
|Agitation Rag||1915||Robert Hampton|
|Mississippi Rag||1897||William Krell|
|Black and White Rag||1908||George Botsford|
|Hungarian Rag||1913||Julius Lenzberg|
|Russian Rag||1918||George L. Cobb|
|Cannon Ball||1904||Joseph Northup|
|Peaceful Henry||1908||Harry Kelly|
|A Bag of Rags (with Silent Movies)||1913||W.R. McKanlass|
|Calico Rag||1914||Nat Johnson|
|Porto Rico||1910||Ford Dabney|
|That Dawggone Rag||1913||Maurice K. Smith|
|Affinity Rag||1910||Irene Cozad|
|Aviation Rag||1910||Albert F. Marzian (as Mark Janza)|
|Temptation Rag (as a Tango)||1909||Henry Lodge|
|Castle House Rag||1914||James Reese Europe|
|The Chevy Chase||1914||Eubie Blake|
|Ragging the Scale||1915||Edward B. Claypoole|
|Canadian Capers||1915||Chandler, White & Cohen|
|Grandpa's Spells||1923||Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton|
|King Porter Stomp||1924||Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton|
|The Fingerbreaker||1938||Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton|
|A Handful of Keys||1929||Thomas "Fats" Waller|
|Mule Walk||1924||James P. Johnson|
|Snowy Morning Blues||1923||James P. Johnson|
|Memphis Blues||1912||W.C. Handy|
|Dallas Blues||1912||Hart A. Wand|
|Dictys on Seventh Avenue||1949||Eubie Blake|
|Goldenrod Rag||1912||W.C. Handy|
|The Mechanic's Rag||1989||Marty Mincer|
|Blood on the Keys||1989||Bill Edwards|
|A Ragtime Nocturne||1989||Bill Edwards|
|Tha Hanon Rag||1985||Bill Edwards|
|The Wiener Schnitzel Rag||2002||Bill Edwards|
|The Tuxedo Cat Rag||2004||Bill Edwards|
|Alexander's Ragtime Band||1911||Irving Berlin|
|Asleep in the Deep||1897||H.W. Petrie & Arthur J. Lamb|
|Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home||1902||Hughie Cannon|
|Hannah, Won't You Open The Door||1904||Andrew Sterling & Harry Von Tilzer|
|Please Let Me Sleep||1902||R. C. McPherson & James T. Brymn|
|Take Me Out To The Ball Game||1908||Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer|
|Shine On Harvest Moon||1908||Jack Norworth & Nora Bayes|
|By The Light Of The Silvery Moon||1909||Edward Madden & Gus Edwards|
|Row, Row, Row||1912||William Jerome & Jimmie Monaco|
|He'd Have To Get Under||1913||Clarke, Leslie & Abrahams|
|Saloon||1921||Ernest R. Ball|
|Sweet Georgia Brown||1925||Maceo Pinkard & Ken Casey|
|By The Beautiful Sea||1913||Harry Caroll & Harold R. Atteridge|
|The Aba Daba Honeymoon||1912||Jack Norworth|
|In My Merry Oldsmobile||1902||Gus Edwards|
|Deep Henderson||1926||Fred Rose|
|Sailing Down the Chesapeake Bay||1913||George Botsford & Jean Havez|
Novelties and Show Pieces
|The Midnight Fire Alarm||1900||Harry J. Lincoln|
|The Burning Of Rome||1902||E.T. Paull|
|Charleston Rag||1899||Eubie Blake|
|Lion Tamer Rag||1913||Mark Janza|
|The Entertainer's Rag||1910||Jay Roberts|
|Rattlesnake Rag||1917||Ethwell Hansen|
|Too Much Mustard||1911||Cecil Macklin|
|12th Street Rag||1914||Euday Bowman|
|Tiger Rag||1917||Shields & LaRocca|
|Kitten on the Keys||1921||Zez Confrey|
|Nickel in the Slot||1923||Zez Confrey|
|Jim Jams||1922||Roy Bargy|
|Alabamy Bound||1925||Henderson, DeSylva & Green|
|Honky Tonk Train Blues||1924||Meade Lux Lewis|
|Harlem Strut||1921||James P. Johnson|
|St. Louis Blues||1914||W.C. Handy|
|California, Here I Come||1924||Meyer, DeSylva & Jolson|
|Skoda Lasky (The Beer Barrel Polka)||1939||Vejvoda, Timm, Zeman & Brown|
"PERFESSOR" BILL EDWARDS
"Music and Mischief of the 1900's"
Curtain or Lights up on First Song
Early Rag, March or Galop
Introduce as "Perfessor" Bill Edwards, Professional Purveyor of Pleasingly Pianistic Pyrotechnics. Short discussion of pre-ragtime music (1880-1897) and how and why ragtime came into existence. Punctuate the point with a couple of brief examples of 1890's songs (mostly weepy and pathetic). Move on to "New music for a new century."
One early rag and one early ragtime song.
The Ragtime Life
Quick description of itinerant pianists, their influences and influence, and how they survived travel in the 1890's. One or two jokes about ragtime pianists.
Two classic rags in contrasting styles: Mississippi Valley, New York, Sedalia, New Orleans, etc.
Venues of Ragtime and Old-Time
Where was it played and by whom. Examples include in the home (by mother), in the music store (by sister), in the bars (by brother), at haughty-taughty social gatherings (by father), and in the districts (by very happy pianists). More jokes about playing ragtime.
One simple or popular rag and one early sing-along piece.
The Competitive Edge
Description of ragtime competitions and cutting contests. If a pianist is available for a cutting contest an example will be staged using the Maple Leaf Rag or another well known piece. Otherwise, A competition style rag will played (with panache and lots of flash).
Open with a rag based on a well-known classical tune.
Demonstrate an immensely popular song of the era, complete with band track.
Tell how popular song evolved from ragtime, and how both comprise the first truly American form of serious music. Add anecdotes about Tin Pan Alley publishers and sales tactics.
Make Us Laugh
One example of comic song. Two if one gets applause.
Is It Still Funny?
Convey some tasteful humor and jokes from and about the era. The use of obscure references and demeaning racial slurs be discussed but no offending examples will be given.
Audience Participation and "Oh Yeah" Songs
Two well known songs with not so well known verses. After trying to fit the verse to a song title the audience says "Oh Yeah" upon hearing the chorus.
Player pianos and nickelodeons are highlighted with musical examples of how mechanical music sounded. Show a silent movie clip while playing an associated rag.
The Maturation of American Music
Briefly discuss the evolution of rags into jazz and common popular music. Include at least one flashy example of such.
Ragtime's Final Curtain
A fine example of a beautiful classic rag by one of the "big three" rag composers. Exit from the stage.
If they applaud long enough
Or if the doors are locked! One barn burner encore. Final Curtain.
"PERFESSOR" BILL EDWARDS
Some alternate presentations are available for seminars or specialty groups. Listed are the subjects and a brief synopsis. All discussions include a generous helping of related music, and opportunities to ask questions or interject insight and comments.
THE ECONOMICS OF RAGTIME
This session explores the role that ragtime and its contemporaries played in boosting the economy after the Silver Panic and subsequent depression of the 1890's. Topics include the industries of piano manufacturing (steel, lumber and milling), sheet music (Tin Pan Alley and publishing plants), player pianos and roll production, jobs for women (selling, playing and composing), new roles for blacks, the resurgence of vaudeville, the spread of public performance venues, mechanical forms of performance, and the effects of the unexpectedly large increase in alcohol production and consumption. The talk focuses on the period up to the end of the Great War" and the beginning of constitutional prohibition.
THE ORIGINS OF AMERICAN POPULAR SONG
Interspersed with both well known and obscure musical examples, this seminar focuses on two different areas. One is the publishing and selling of songs and rags by serious composers, and their unending efforts to keep their music from being both trivialized and plagiarized. The other shows how many songs and performers were created and packaged by Tin Pan Alley publishers, and some of the unusual tactics used to really "sell a song" to the public. Peripheral subjects include the use (or lack thereof) of verses, lyrical content, copyright laws and related problems, competition among music merchants, and the methods used for printing the music, as well as the artists who designed the covers.
THE ART OF THE RAG
Designed for musicians of all abilities, this is a scholarly look at the elements of ragtime. Topics include roots of ragtime and similar folk music, different regional styles of ragtime, varied performance and composition styles, a detailed structural analysis of at least two different rags, varied examples of syncopation and its applications, and how to learn and ultimately perform ragtime. This is a highly participatory discussion that is geared for groups of less than 100 dedicated (or at least very curious) musicians.
HONKY TONK PIANO
A review of the period between the original ragtime era and the revival of the 1970s, this successful presentation covers everything from ragtime used in Disney animations of the 1930s to the many honky-tonk piano artists who appeared in the 1950s, and subsequently helped to save the music from extinction. This talk includes many sound examples, a PowerPoint presentation for visual context, and a review of some of the best and worst album covers of that time. There is also a brief discussion of the changes in technology in 1948 that allowed ragtime to be presented on LP for the first time.
SHEET MUSIC COVER ART AND ARTISTS
Music sold well in the ragtime era in part because it was also visual art. This discussion follows early text lithography to the first colorful attempts of E.T. Paull that set a higher standard for sheet music covers, plus some of the best and worst of the ragtime era. It also covers some of the more prominent artist of the time and how their covers not only give us a peek into the social aspects of the ragtime era, but also forecast future artistic forms. This is very visual with both PowerPoint and real examples.
THE OFFSPRING OF RAGTIME
There is a lot of music in this one. It includes many examples of ragtime and the different directions that ragtime split into. These include the Blues (a direct parent of Swing and Rock & Roll), Traditional Jazz (the rage of the twenties and the synthesis of Dixieland), Popular Song (responsible for much of today's pop music forms), and Folk and Country music (later merged with Western style songs) into the 21st century. This presentation is great for music history classes and secondary school music assemblies, as many of them are astonished to discover that today's music isn't all that new.
COME ON AND HEAR
A short show that is geared towards younger students and can be tailored for any age groups from 6 to 18, this is a fast paced entertainment that includes many examples of Ragtime, Popular Song, and stories of everyday life in the Ragtime Era. Much of the playing includes some visual antics and can readily hold the attention of most age groups for 45 minutes to one hour.