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Established:June 1997
Author:All content written, coded, illustrated, maintained and posted by Bill Edwards
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All MIDI file contents and Wave Audio recordings are Copyright ©1998 through 2014 under the 1998 Electronic Copyright Laws by Bill Edwards and Siggnal Sounds. All Sheet Music and Album Cover images here have been restored or enhanced by Bill Edwards, and only the original sources are in the Public Domain (except where noted). Unauthorized duplication or distribution of these proprietary files or associated digital recordings is a violation of copyright and patent law. They are for personal use and enjoyment of individuals only, and may be used on other sites only upon request for permission to do so. This site has been optimized browsers released in 2006 or later with a recommended minimum 800x600 (SVGA) and optimal 1024x768 (XGA) monitor resolution.

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The Gospel in Ragtime
midi fileAmazing Grace


Common Christian Hymnal

Traditional melody harmonized by Edwin O. Excell (1900) and Lyrics by John Newton (1779): The most recognizable religious tune written to date, Amazing Grace has been translated into virtually every language known to the world. 19th Century missionaries carried it with them to previously unknown societies around the world. Rock stars have been known to perform it in concert. It is in every published Christian hymnal. PBS even produced a television special about the history of just this one tune. The melody is assumed to be 17th century Appalachian in origin, although the varying versions of published words can be absolutely traced to John Newton, among others who have either added to or translated it. Amazing Grace is universal, and I have heard all sorts of arrangements, even ragtime in nature. Being a church music leader myself, I prefer a more traditional gospel approach, and I have used this with some of the best singers anyone could ever work with. Even then, this anthem makes great singers out of anyone. I hope it induces you to sing and experience the praise along with me.

midi fileThe Battle Hymn of The Republic


Battle Hymn of The Republic

Phillip Simonds (M) and Julia Ward Howe (L) - 1862: It seems that every war the United States has been involved with has yielded some very memorable songs. No war was more horrific for us than our own American Civil War. As a song of inspiration which was needed by many sending their men off to the war, Julia Ward Howe adapted verses in 1861 with a religious message to a popular secular protest song written the previous year, John Brown's Body. That song was derived from an 1858 Methodist Hymn titled Say Brothers, Will You Meet Us copyrighted by G.S. Scofield, plus the popular Glory, Hallelujah chorus, which remains largely the same. In the early 20th century, musicians in New Orleans took many pieces from the popular liturgy and adapted them for funeral marches and subsequent celebration parades back from the cemetery. This has long been a favorite of traditional jazz bands because of its inherent adaptability. Incidentally, the John Brown mentioned in the earlier incarnation of the tune referred to Sergeant John Brown who died at Fort Warren in Massachusetts, not the John Brown famous for his raid on Harper's Ferry, Maryland in 1861.

midi fileDo Lord


Do Lord

Anonymous - c. 1920's: One of the earliest popular praise choruses, this venerable number of nebulous origin is based loosely on Battle Hymn of The Republic written during the American Civil War. Do Lord emerged in part in the 1920's and became popular at church meetings, although not always during worship time. Until then, spirituals were among the only religious pieces that were truly strophic - verse and chorus format. Most hymns are a repeated verse-only melody with multiple verses, and maybe a common tag. Do Lord seems to automatically induce the need to clap largely due to the chorus syncopations. Ragging it is not only the next logical step, but may be part of its development as well.

Ragtime Webring-Dedicated To Scott Joplin

The Ragtime Webring-Dedicated to Scott Joplin and the music of the Ragtime Era, this ring is an invaluable resource for jazz music lovers, musicians and historians. Sheet music, midi files, afro-american history, record collectors...

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There are lots of great ragtime recordings by top artists available from
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Including some of my recommended favorites:

Max Morath Dick Hyman Dick Zimmerman
Paul Lingle Wally Rose Lu Watters
James P. Johnson Tony Caramia Squirrel Nut Zippers
Marcus Roberts Butch Thompson Jelly Roll Morton
Glenn Jenks Sue Keller Fats Waller
The Good Time Jazz Catalog and Bill's personal favorites, The Firehouse Five+2!

And don't miss these movies which include some ragtime music:

The Jazz Singer The Sting
Alexander's Ragtime Band Scott Joplin
The Legend of 1900 Ragtime
For Me and My Gal Meet Me In St. Louis
In the Good Old Summertime Take Me Out to the Ball Game
The Jolson Story Jolson Sings Again
Cheaper by the Dozen San Francisco
Somewhere in Time Titanic (1953)
The Other Pretty Baby
42nd Street Reds
The Son of Kong Story of Vernon and Irene Castle
Cheyenne Social Club The Shootist
How To Dance Through Time - Dances of the Ragtime Era

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