Home > Piano four hands > A Million Buffalo Roam for Piano Duet or Ensemble Conductor's Score

A Million Buffalo Roam for Piano Duet or Ensemble Conductor's Score

Tom Turpin's "Buffalo Rag" with "Home On the Range" and the "Star-Spangled Banner"

Composer
Year of composition
2017
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
10 minutes
Genre
Ragtime music
Instrumentation
Piano four hands
Instrumental parts
Not available

"A Million Buffalo Roam" is a historical re-construction that gives some idea of how an improvising ragtime pianist of circa 1904-1906 would have performed Tom Turpin's "Buffalo Rag," "Home On the Range," and the "Star-Spangled Banner" as an extended virtuosic display. It is not an arrangement nor a medley, but a representation of a little-documented performance practice. After improvisatory passages on the three themes of "The Buffalo Rag" are heard individually, they are combined with the tunes of "Home On the Range" and the "Star-Spangled Banner," including one passage in which "Home On the Range" and the "Star-Spangled Banner" are played simultaneously, combined with the accompaniment patterns of "The Buffalo Rag." In his early teens, composer, pianist, and musicologist James Siddons studied piano for several years with pianist, singer, and band leader Eva Jo “PeeWee” Baggett, who had performed professionally in cafes, dance halls, and radio from about 1915 to 1935. She once accompanied Eddie Cantor on piano. In 1961, she taught Siddons how to play the “12th Street Rag,” using the same piece of sheet-music that the composer, Euday L. Bowman, had used to teach her with at a cafe in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1915. “PeeWee” Baggett taught Siddons how to play ragtime, blues, vaudeville songs and jazz “standards” in the improvisatory manner that professional ragtime and early jazz pianists did in those days. The present work, "A Million Buffalo Roam," is based on that distinctly American style of piano improvisation. ASCAP

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