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This Is Ragtime: The Birth of American Music

TV Movie | Documentary

This Is Ragtime: The Birth of American Music is a television musical documentary intended for distribution via the PBS network. The documentary will derive from source material in Terry Waldo's award-winning book, This Is Ragtime, and will...See moreThis Is Ragtime: The Birth of American Music is a television musical documentary intended for distribution via the PBS network. The documentary will derive from source material in Terry Waldo's award-winning book, This Is Ragtime, and will feature newly produced and other recorded versions of the original music as performed by the greatest interpreters of Ragtime. These segments will be interlaced with narration, fascinating talks with musicians and historians, photos, and rare historic film footage. The documentary will tell the intriguing story of Ragtime from its beginnings in slave music and the "red light districts" through its various revivals during the twentieth century. Evolving from diverse European and African sources, it first appeared in 1897 and immediately became a "syncopated rage." America went "Ragtime Mad." This new music endured for twenty years as the nation's favorite form of "pop." And as George & Ira Gershwin stated in their first collaboration: "The Real American Folk Song Is a Rag." The program will illuminate the lives and contributions of the original creators, primarily African Americans. The roster of geniuses includes: the reclusive Scott Joplin, composer of "Classic Rags" and syncopated operas worthy of comparison with the European masterworks; New Orleans Creole composer Jelly Roll Morton who defined the style of Ragtime that ultimately became known as "Jazz;" Baltimore native and son of ex-slaves, Eubie Blake, who ignited the Harlem Renaissance and "The Jazz Age" when he brought Ragtime to the Broadway stage; and Irving Berlin, writer of the snappy ragtime lyrics and music that led to his crowning as the "King of Tin Pan Alley." These and other great American composers created a body of music that expressed as never before the spirit, vitality, and inventiveness of American life. Written by William Nix, Executive Producer See less
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Updated May 7, 2017

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