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Topic: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

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  1. #1
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    Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    Styxx sent in this rendition of Scott Joplin's "Bethena" (A Concert Waltz). This is the first piece Styxx did with Overture. To achieive a honky-tonk piano sound, he put one of the Steinways on track 1 and the other on track 2 but made the second track slightly out of tune to give it that honky tonk player piano sound.

    Here's the mp3 link: http://www.garritan.com/mp3/ms-bethena.mp3

    In another post, Styxx provided a link to the pdf score which can be found at www.mutopiaproject.org.

    He also sent the MIDI file - http://www.garritan.com/mp3/ms-bethena.mid


    I too would like to hear this piece orchestrated.

    Here's a GPO Studio file setup for a ragtime band that was used in "Easy Winners" by Tom Hopkins that would work work nicely with this piece : http://garritan.com/mp3/joplin.zip (MIDI files is http://garritan.com/mp3/EasyWinners-Ragtime.mp3)
    This would be a fine exercise to orchestrate for a ragtime band. Would anyone like to take a go at it?

    Thanks Styxx for sharing this with us. This is a fantastic piece.

    Gary Garritan

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    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    Excellent job Sal, although for me Bethena is a sad, emotional and sentimental piece and when seen in this particular light maybe you have played it a little too fast and as a result it seems to be a melancholic piece trying to be happy....just my opinion. That's just one of the great things with music, though...it works; every which way for everyone.

    It may be that because I heard it first played slower, in a more morose style, that I have these feelings. In the rubato parts you can just start to see the emotion lying under its ragtime exterior. Speed changes and pauses.....God aren't they powerful! I would have more of this....I think. It would only be when I got into it that I would discover what is possible.

    Wasn't Joplin a genius though....A hundred years ago he came up with this totally new style although, as I said in another post, I did come across a Beethoven Sonata (during my brief musical education) which immediately reminded me of Joplin. It is said that his music swept the world and he was actually as popular as the Beatles in his day.

    The Africans can be very proud of all the new genres of music they have invented over the last 100 yrs (with the exception of rap!…no only kidding!) I think that creating a new genre is an extremely hard thing to do..you have to make that inventive leap. (We’re probably together on this Tom?)

    The GPO piano always sounds excellent....and it's no worse when detuned in the way described. As everyone says the piano, organ and other instruments are worth the money without the actual orchestra

    Thanks also Gary for prizing the Easy Winners files out of Tom's grip (did you have others helping you? ) and thanks to him too. (Hi Tom! ) As you know I'm not 'switched on' yet (no jokes please!) but like the squirrel with his/her (her...is that possible? ) 'nuts' I will be putting these away for the winter. I would very much like to have a go at this....I can see that I'll be bumping this thread from months hence! (Is there a bumping limit?) The way things are going I'll be using the GPO MkII !

    Thank you so much Sal and Gary for this opportunity, you made an old (ish) man very happy (in my melancholic sort of way)

    Frank

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    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    although for me Bethena is a sad, emotional and sentimental piece and when seen in this particular light maybe you have played it a little too fast
    Yeah, ya know, I was thinking the same when putting it all together. I remember now I did this for a compositional evaluation piece during a theory course in college. I believe the professor had the same observation. I'm going to slow this one down just for grins.
    Thanks Hardy for the reminder. However, like you said,
    That's just one of the great things with music, though...it works; every which way for everyone.

    I had quite a learning experience with Overture with this piece. Half the notes were played in because when I would try to set a rhythm it would not notate as written. The basic rhythm in the melody is quarter eighth quarter eighth and it was dropping the second eighth note every other measure. Pain in the lower left earlobe.
    Styxx

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    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx
    Yeah, ya know, I was thinking the same when putting it all together. I remember now I did this for a compositional evaluation piece during a theory course in college. I believe the professor had the same observation. I'm going to slow this one down just for grins.
    Thanks Hardy for the reminder. However, like you said,
    I had quite a learning experience with Overture with this piece. Half the notes were played in because when I would try to set a rhythm it would not notate as written. The basic rhythm in the melody is quarter eighth quarter eighth and it was dropping the second eighth note every other measure. Pain in the lower left earlobe.
    Hey Sal....don't do it! I'm sure that there will be others who will say it's too slow then. It's only my personal preference.

    Cheers

    Frank

  5. #5

    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    Great job again 'Sal.' I'm glad you're getting to show off a little bit.

  6. #6

    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Burrell
    Great job again 'Sal.' I'm glad you're getting to show off a little bit.
    Hear hear !!!

    Can't wait for Styxx' version of Mean Green Mother....

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    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Klaren
    Hear hear !!!

    Can't wait for Styxx' version of Mean Green Mother....
    I have that~!
    Styxx

  8. #8

    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    I cannot think of another style of music that is more influenced by tempo than Ragtime. Changing the tempo by less than 10 bpm can completely change the mood of his songs. I remember learning Maple Leaf Rag when I was in my young teems. Just getting the notes and rhythms right took me quite a while, but once I had them down sufficiently I can remember playing with the tempo of the song for hours. Happy, meloncholoy (sp?), ecstatic and cocky and crafty were all available as moods within 25 bpm of each other. And I remember my piano teacher being satisfied with none of them. *sigh*

    I took my family to Disneyland 2 weeks ago and when we were walking through frontier land (the kids on a hell-bent charge towards the haunted mansion, I'll add ) Maple Leaf Rag was blaring through the speakers they have set along the path. It was a very up tempo version and I remember smiling to myself and thinking `Thanks for adding to the chaos of the day by charging us all up with a hyper-active Maple!' Thinking back on it now, a slower rendition would not have fit the scene. Last of all, there is a candy shop on the end of main street (just before Cinderella's castle, which I might add is under a freaking huge blue tarp for renovations. ) with a piano just outside of the shop. There is a pianist at the piano named Rob, who I believe has been playing at Disneyland since probably 1842. He does all sorts of stuff, but he concentrates on Ragtime and plays most other tunes with a Ragtime influence. He is a master at his craft, I am not worthy to shine his shoes. If you get a chance to see him, so so. He is amazing. I have never seen anyone who so blatently loves to be out in the crowd cranking out song after song. When I grow up, I want to be him.

    As for Bethena, it is another example of Joplins music having many personalities based on tempo. To me, the tempo was spot on. I'll qualify that by saying it fit the mood I was in when I was hearing it. At any other given moment I could have enjoyed it just as much at a slower or faster tempo. Styxx, this is your work and the tempo of the piece contributes greatly to what you are trying to communicate with the song. It was technically really well executed and brought some good memories back to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Sorry for the long post and again Styxx, great job!

    -Kevin
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  9. #9

    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    Styxx, just my humble opinion here. I've never heard "Bethena" before, but compared to the average rocker I've heard a lot of Scott Joplin's work.

    I've seen it performed and mangled, blasting away the subtelty and uniqueness inherent in his songs. THIS is gorgeous. If it is too fast then I'm glad someone did it too fast. I feel the melancholy - sort of the dread of the inevitableness - but also the dedicated spark of life and deterimination.

    I've hear so much great stuff here, much of it "new" to me. But I connected to this piece in some way that dug deep. It's on my hard drive and I will always connect this work to what has been a wonderful weekend.

    If I owe you money let me know :-).

  10. #10
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    Re: Scott Joplin's "Bethena" from Styxx - Orchestration Exercise

    Quote Originally Posted by Declan
    Styxx, just my humble opinion here. I've never heard "Bethena" before, but compared to the average rocker I've heard a lot of Scott Joplin's work.
    Quote Originally Posted by Declan

    I've seen it performed and mangled, blasting away the subtelty and uniqueness inherent in his songs. THIS is gorgeous. If it is too fast then I'm glad someone did it too fast. I feel the melancholy - sort of the dread of the inevitableness - but also the dedicated spark of life and deterimination.

    I've hear so much great stuff here, much of it "new" to me. But I connected to this piece in some way that dug deep. It's on my hard drive and I will always connect this work to what has been a wonderful weekend.

    If I owe you money let me know :-).


    I'm glad to hear that this Joplin piece got under your skin a little bit. That's one of musical life's pleasures; that out of the blue you can hear something new and unexpected. It's less true when you get older as you’ve heard quite a few genres and pieces within them so you tend to get jaded. A bit of cross‑fertilisation never hurt anyone.

    BTW, if you haven’t seen it, hire a video of the classic film "The Sting" 1973 - Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw...very clever and enjoyable film featuring Joplin's music...(maybe some of the younger posters missed it. This popularised Joplin’s Entertainer, Solace (another gorgeous melancholic piece), Easy Winners, etc but didn’t include his well-known Maple Leaf Rag. BTW just to air my little bit of knowledge; Rag was short for ragged time, which is the enjoyable (to me) syncopation or staggered rhythm.

    There's loads of other music I haven't heard, though, and never will. Everyone's only got a limited 'bandwidth of time' in life so, literally, no one hears everything. Dramatically, they say that only 1%, or it may be 5%, of all the animal species that have ever existed ....are here now....I'm afraid it's a similar story with music. For example, my music teacher introduced me to Clementi’s music which have enjoyed a lot. If she hadn’t introduced me to it it’s most likely that I’d never have encountered his work…although at least one of his pieces was turned into an exceptional Top Ten hit years ago! I know that there are literally thousands of hidden gems lying there waiting to be rediscovered and reworked. Hmmmm.

    In a similar way to you, stumbling onto this Joplin piece, I was thrilled a couple years ago by hearing a snatch of (what turned out to be) Ravel's Piano concerto in G which I just loved at the time...(I've overplayed it now though so can't quite repeat the pleasure) and I think that this is why I enjoy listening to the demos here as I quite expect some totally original pieces to appear occasionally and I find this very pleasurable.

    Musical taste is a strange business. Nothing to do with intelligence as some would like to believe….just the way we’re wired up at birth and our cultural upbringing; like any other of the many possible human characteristic variations. This is why, for example, you find that it’s mainly the Chinese who like Chinese music and Indians who like Indian music ….it’s not that one type of music is better than another. There can be snobbery in music (as with most other things) but those inclined that way are often not capable of the necessary thought to realise it.

    Talking about the variation of musical taste; I enthusiastically swapped classic CDs with one of my colleagues at work anticipating common appreciation of them. Although he also enjoyed classical music we gave up eventually as almost without fail we didn't like each other’s taste!! And he wasn’t even into the avante garde!
    Now that says something about peoples comments about other people’s music....often it’s just that they don't like the genre or the melody and it's as simple as that. It doesn't mean it's not good music.
    God, what a rambling waste of time…….all I really wanted to say was that I was glad you liked it!

    Frank

    PS Told you Sal....not everyone likes it slow!

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