Cleopatra Rag

Cleopatra RagCleopatra Rag (1915) is one of twelve of Joseph Lamb’s piano rags published by Stark Music Company. In an advertisement for the piece, the publisher attests that “Lamb has the gift of melody and the genius of harmonization.” Cleopatra Rag is immediately memorable to listeners within the first four bars of its opening section, with its accented thirteenth chords and “skipping” melodic rhythm. Lamb’s “genius of harmonization” is evident in the C section, which begins with a first inversion tonic chord preceded by a descending bass line; the effect is one of great richness and warmth.

The idyllic “Egyptian” sheet music cover was used by Stark Music Company for the publication of other pieces: James Scott’s Sunburst Rag (1909) and Scott Joplin’s Reflection Rag (1917). Guido Nielsen’s canonical recording Joseph F. Lamb: The Complete Stark Rags is available for download from Amazon Music and iTunes; Sheet music of these rags is available at

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Brandon Byrne is a ragtime composer, performer, and scholar. Max Morath said of Byrne, “Brandon’s unique compositions display unparalleled gifts and hidden virtuosity. His music reflects the past and challenges the future. His playing will touch your soul.” For a full list of his compositions, please visit his website.

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