Wednesday, April 8, 2015


QUOTE: "Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your 
                       wisdom.   If you do not live it, it won't come out of your horn."
AUTHOR:  Charlie Parker
"A lot of Who you are is due in-part to your life's 
  Emotions That emanate from  Those  experiences Will
  come out  uniquely in the establishment of music."



Version From "The Sting"
(Full Version)
Richard Dowling, Piano
(Full Version)
Joshua Rifkin, Piano
(Full Version)
With  Notation
(Full Version)
Piano-Orchestra Version
(Version From "The Sting")
Solace, first published by Scott Joplin in 1909, is
probably the most delicate and poignant of all the
piano rags that the "King of Ragtime," Scott
Joplin, ever composed and is his only piece
written using the tango rhythm.
Solace is essentially a habañera in ragtime form,
Salvador Dali: Habanera
and is relatively authentic considering a non-Latin
black composer from Missouri composed it, 
although a well educated one.

Those who know Solace
only from Marvin Hamlisch's

truncated arrangement featured in
the George Roy Hill motion
picture, "The Sting"
have only heard the second half of the piece.
Hamlisch selected only the C and D strains (the
second half of this haunting, lyrical tune) from
the piece to use in the sound track. Because of
this, many people do not recognize the piece
until they hear the C strain.

With Solace, Joplin had reached a new maturity
where he expressed a range of complex emotions
(changes in moods and pauses providing a wide
scope for pianistic interpretation), something
unusual among piano rags, lifting the style of
Ragtime far beyond its popular appeal as a
light-hearted form of music.
The music's subtitle, "A Mexican Serenade"
perhaps reflects the fact that its left hand rhythm
suggests a slow (the tempo direction is "Very
Slow March Time) Latin Tango.

Rudi Blesh

(An American jazz critic and scholar)
writing about the use of the tango said,
"Originally from Cuba, by way of African cult houses
where It Is said to have been known by its African
tribal name, 'Tangana,' this rhythm had entered
American piano literature as early as 1860 with
Louis Moreau Gottschalk's

'Souvenir of Havana.'
Havana, Cuba about about the time of Gottschalk's arrival (1850's).
(Remember Havana)
Louis Moreau Gottschalk
The first reported about in the instance of tango
unchronicled history of American Negro music is a
rag-tango called 'The Dream,'

Originally by Jesse Pickett
Transcribed by Eubie Blake
Eubie Blake, Piano
composed and played by an itinerant black player,
Jesse Pickett, at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.";_ylt=AwrTcXPmQCNVwlUA3laJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTIyNTZmM25mBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZANmMTU1ZGJhMzJiOGI5OTEyYjE1MjcxZGFiZmY0ZDVkZQRncG9zAzIEaXQDYmluZw--?.origin=&
The Tango was becoming quite popular as a
dance and a music form during this time so many
composers and publishers tried to fill the need for
the public's desire for it. They ultimately created a
volume of " Spanish Tinge " (a reference to the
belief that an Afro-Latin rhythmic touch offers a
reliable method of spicing the more conventional 4/4
rhythms commonly used in jazz and pop music) pieces
that were not quite authentic tangos, closer resembling
the more African-based habañera, but had the same feel.
Habanera Rhythm

1. Play students a recording of a performance of Scott Joplin’s “Solace.”
2. Have students raise their hands every time they hear the habanera rhythm.
3.On a subsequent hearing, have students clap or play classroom
percussion instruments along with this rhythm pattern.
Joplin, while not ahead of the curve, did treat the
rhythm with more respect when he composed
Solace. It was subtitled "A Mexican Serenade,"
which was somewhat more proper than calling it
a tango, and it was certainly not a rag either. If not
for its syncopation, Solace might have been called
an intermezzo, but was saved from this fate by
having syncopated rhythms throughout.

Solace is essentially a habañera in ragtime form.
The habañera rhythm is used consistently through-
out the A and B sections. The harmonic structure
of the B section gives the impression of a possible
key change though not establishing that the music
is still in the key of C until fourteen measures in. Some
of the harmonic progressions of Mexican music of that
time were also used. It was likely that Joplin would
have had exposure to these sounds during his travels
in Texas, and even perhaps in St. Louis when Mexican
musicians would come through town on a U.S. tour. 
The C section includes fermatas
(deliberate pauses)

at the beginning of each phrase, a technique often
used in the tango or habañera (such as the famous
Habañera from the opera Carmen)

From the Opera "Carmen"
By Georges Bizet
Maria Callas, Vocalist
to accentuate a certain facet of the dance. It also
breaks away from the primary rhythm briefly into
more of a habañera with passing tones. The rhythm
resumes in the final section, with a delicate close to
the section that is in contrast to the expansive playing
in the previous twelve measures.

Published by Seminary, the music also stands out
among Joplin works for the beautiful four-color
cover by Irish artist John Frew.