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The Mississippi Rag below was the first piece of instrumental music published with the word "rag" in the title. Its composer was William H. Krell, a white band leader. The first rag published by a black composer, the Harlem Rag, by way of contrast, was published later in by Tom Turpin, a well-known saloon owner from St Louis.
There is some irony in The Mississippi Rag being the first instrumental rag published in print since the piece is really a "cakewalk" and not a classic rag. And even though The Mississippi Rag and Harlem Rag have their place in history as the first instrumental "rags" published, it has been pointed out, however, that ragtime was certainly known and played before Gammond The potential confusion or mislabeling of rags as cakewalks and vice versa arises in part because both forms of music are syncopated and have an "intoxicating" effect.
Some rags included "cakewalk" in the title even though there were closer being a rag than a cakewalk e. This labeling was likely done, in part, by the publisher to better promote the piece, depending on which form of music was more in vogue at the time.
It seems that cakewalks were not without controversy over the issue of whether it placed African-Americans in a stereo-typical light. In an edition of the Cleveland Gazette see story to the righta church pastor is chastised for allowing Florence kendall essay contest cakewalk to occur in his church since cakewalks were "disgraceful relics of slavery days and should not be tolerated for a moment in intelligent Afro-American communities, to say nothing of churches.
Typical of the Canadian version of cakewalk music would be The Cake Winner by GW Adams belowalthough little is known about this composer or the piece. The earliest reference I could find in the Globe newspaper Toronto was an August 1,story page 8 under the title "Colored People Jubilate Today": This is Emancipation Day, and a number of our coloured citizens will jubilate in a benefitting manner at Berlin, in company with brethren from Hamilton, Chatham, Windsor, St.
Catharines and other places. There was an opening ball last night and this evening there will be a grand concert and cake walk.
A July 3,story in the Globe page 2 describes a "sports meet" in Quebec where there is mention of a cake walk as entertainment at the event. Finally, an August 21,story in the Globe describes a mass cakewalk at a summer party at the "cottage" north of Toronto of what I believe to be the summer home of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt: Pellatt was desirous of introducing some new feature on the occasion and decided upon holding a "cake-walk.
A detour among the shrubberies brought the procession in full view at the bottom of the lawn and the dancers advanced up the tennis court, two and two, in the cake walk step, to the ragtime music of the band. The popularity of cakewalks spread even beyond North America to Europe where even Claude Debussy wrote Golliwog's Cakewalk belowa "take" on the cakewalk from a classical composer's point of view.
Despite their simple nature, many cakewalks are enjoyable and fun to play and listen to. Ultimately, however, the cakewalk craze gradually subsided as classic ragtime gained in popularity; in addition, new dance crazes, such as variations on the fox trot, were introduced prior to and during World War I and eclipsed the cakewalk, which by that time, must have seemed very dated and quaint.
Jasen and Jones In many of the best rags, especially those by Joplin and Lamb, there is a harmonic richness which gives them a hint of melancholy that is without counterpart in the cakewalk. The cakewalk was neither designed for introspection nor capable of it. It offers liveliness and nothing else.
For more information on cakewalks, there are a number of websites that discuss the cakewalk in more detail - see: Lake Arrowhead Early Jazz Band. Stomp Off Records Purchase details includes positive reviews by Jack Rummel and Eddie Cook. The list of compositions below is not exhaustive; I have not included every cakewalk song i.
To find sheet music for cakewalks not listed below, check out the various online sources of ragtime sheet music.Patriot’s Pen is a written essay contest open to all sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. This VFW-sponsored youth essay competition is conducted nationwide and gives students an opportunity to write an essay expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme.
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