Tom Turpin • Ragtime Nightmare

Composer and nightclub owner Tom Turpin (c. 1871-1922) is one of Ragtime’s most influential figures. Ragtime Nightmare from 1900 is the third of his six known compositions. At four pages (72 measures) without repeats, it is a brief work. Credit must be given to publisher Will Rossiter and arranger D.S. de Lisle for producing one of the cleanest published scores of the original Ragtime Era!

What makes this piece “nightmarish” isn’t apparent without explanation: the title is a reference to other period works, in which a leisurely introduction “wakes up” to become a full-blown rag. Hence, the eight measure introduction to Ragtime Nightmare is rhythmically different from the rest of the piece. Like most of Turpin’s other work, this one is a delightful C major rag in an early Classic style. The score for Ragtime Nightmare is viewable at the Library of Congress website, loc.gov.

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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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