Ragtime Composition Aid

24 Nov 2004

Many of the rags on this site (see "compositions") aren’t necessarily perfect examples of the classic ragtime form. I eventually set out to write some rags that adhered to the AABBACCDD form a little better. To help me do that, I whipped up a quick manuscript paper template (400k PDF) to help. Here are the features: (1) I’ve left a few bars at the beginning in case the tune needs an intro, (2) I’ve marked every measure with a theme and a number. The first A theme measures are marked A-1 through A-16, then the second A theme measures are marked A2-1 through A2-16. The rest is similar. So, this template will work for writing out all 32 bars of the major themes, or for simply using repeats. I like to write out the repeats and notate my own variations (mostly because I’m not the best improviser in the world). (3) In the bass clef, I’ve inserted four light grey hash marks, which are meant to indicate beats. I find it’s easier to notate the treble clef parts when I can see where the beats are going in the bass clef. Basically, all this is the first step for me–getting the notes down before I take it back to the computer for refinement.

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