Ragtime is Hard!

The other day I decided I needed to get started on my goal to learn to play ragtime piano. I got out my “easy” book and started leafing through it.

Why are so many of these rags written in the key of A flat? That is not a particularly easy key to play in. I would have expected they’d all be in the key of C in an easy book.

Boy, is achieving this goal going to be challenging! Reading the A flat score is not the problem. The notes written above the staff will be a problem. It’s been too long since I’ve had to read those notes so I must stop and work out what they are.

Next hurdle is the rhythm. I will probably play the slowest rag you’ve ever heard because there’s no way I can play these at the speed most of them are written to be played. Once I get my fingers and head around all the notes, I can work on the speed.

I think I’m going to modify my goal … I will try to learn to play one rag in 2009! What a joke on me, thinking I’d be able to learn all those pieces in one year.

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3 Responses to Ragtime is Hard!

  1. planoaddlct says:

    Hi there! I’m David.

    Yes, ragtime is SO TRICKY! You make a good point: don’t call it easy if it ain’t in C!

    Tell me when you make progress; I’m sure you’ll finish this piece with more than you thought you would.

    Build up to Joplin’s rags! You’ll be the next Argerich.

  2. fillyjonk says:

    The thing I find hardest about music like that is the rhythm. My very-European, very white-girl background does not seem to allow me to get the rhythm down well.

    On the upside, I’m making good progress on Bach’s “Minuet in G” (from the Anna Magdalena book 1). I can play the first part pretty well and can slowly go through the second.

  3. Susie says:

    Just remember to take small enough “bites” at a time. One of my piano teachers back in the day said to break it down into a measure at a time, if you need to,or a couple of notes at a time, whatever you can master. It’s only April, so you have lots of time! You can do this! I know that you are a very determined self-starter, so it’s not beyond you. Courage!

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