Maple Leaf Rag
Leaf Rag”, is a piece composed by Scott Joplin, known as an iconic masterpiece. This rag deemed Joplin as the “King of
Ragtime”, and landed him large amounts of money. “Maple Leaf Rag”, is used an instructional
guide to teach upcoming musicians. Like
most music at that time, it was published sheet music form, and the first to sell
a million copies. As the instrumental begins,
he established the tempo, and the element of time. There is no intro music, but instead; he
plays continuous tempo and meter heard throughout the song. The repetition of the off beat melodic phrasing
is an important characteristic of rags.
steady left-hand accompaniment keeps the march beat going throughout the piece
while the right-hand plays a syncopated melody against this steady beat. As the song progresses, the shift of the different
melodies is being played. These sections
are in the usual pattern: AA BB A CC DD.
These patterns are seen throughout the whole piece. Each section is sixteen measures long. The shifts in melody is distinguishable due
to the connection between the pitch and rhythm of each melody. Joplin adjusts the accompaniments to show how
he uses syncopation as a character trait in this instrumental.
piece is focused on changing the melodies from start to finish, so Joplin uses some
different phrases to make up the overall lines.
The pitch dies down at the end of the phrase to set up for the next melody,
and then quickly rises back up for the shift in melody. Many of the notes that establish the syncopation
in this piece are very low. The notes that
help shifts the melody are very high pitched.
It is almost natural for these two layers present to a call and response
structure to them. These layers work to
create a rhythm, so as one plays a tune, the other one plays extraordinary
notes to respond. Both act and reverse
layer roles. The syncopation helps to distinguish which layer is the main as
the structure of these prevail.
bass is used to separate the repetitious phrases of the many melodies being
played. The melodic connotation is being
played repeated at the start and finish of each shift. Then the new melody begins. The most important part in upholding the
harmony of the instrumental is the shifting, due to the fact there is only a piano,
and two layers to the song. The
diversity of the lineament is important as the song shifts from melody to melody.