A Breeze from Alabama

Scott Joplin's Ragtime March and Two Step Arranged for Cornet and Piano Duet

By: Scott Joplin
For: Solo Cornet in Bb + piano
page one of A Breeze from Alabama

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Scott Joplin
Year of composition
Year of arrangement
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
6 minutes
Ragtime music
License details
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Although published as a piano solo (1902), "A Breeze from Alabama" is subtitled "March and Two Step" and has a dedication on the cover to P. G. Lowery (Perry George Lowery, 1871-1942), "World's Challenging Colored Cornetist and Band Master." Thus, "A Breeze from Alabama" may well have been conceived as a march for military band but published only as a piano solo. No band arrangement by Joplin is known to exist, but Joplin could have done this, as he himself was a cornetist as well as pianist, and had played cornet in bands like Lowery's many times. Drawing on this information, the present arrangement by James Siddons (2017) is based on the following assumptions: 1. A Breeze from Alabama originated as a march (in march-trio form) for military band. 2. The 1902 publication is a piano reduction of that band work. The melodic lines intended for cornet solo are generally discernable in the piano reduction. 3. A setting for piano duet (or ensemble) keeps this work in the tradition of ragtime piano while also emulating the fulsome tone colors of brass instruments to a degree that a solo piano cannot do. Thus this arrangement is not a solo-and-accompaniment setting, but a setting for large ensemble with soloist. It is collaborative music, akin to a concerto.

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