Ragtime music is often associated with duple meter pieces played at a march-like tempo. However, Ragtime repertoire is rich with beautiful waltzes. Look no further than the “King of Ragtime” Scott Joplin to hear some of the finest waltzes of the era. Here are a few of my favorites. For each waltz, I have included a solo piano performance as well as an arrangement for a larger ensemble.
Harmony Club Waltz (1896)
This is one of Joplin’s first published works. It begins with a brief introduction in 4/4 time, but quickly transitions into a waltz (3/4 time).
Bethena – A Concert Waltz (1905)
This sentimental waltz was composed about a year after Joplin’s second wife passed away from pneumonia only ten weeks into their marriage. Some considered one of Joplin’s finest waltz.
Pleasant Moments (1909)
While this waltz is overshadowed by Joplin’s masterworks such as Bethena and Maple Leaf Rag, Pleasant Moments still offers a “bright and festive” listening experience that is pure Joplin.
• Bethena – Wikipedia
• Joplin’s ‘Bethena’ Sounds As New As It Is Old – NPR
• Scott Joplin : Bethena, A Concert Waltz – mfiles
• Pleasant Moments Ragtime Waltz, for piano – allmusic.com
Learn More About Ragtime
This is a collection of the sources I have used for my research on ragtime. I am always looking for more places to learn, so please let me know if you have any recommendations.