Saturday, December 6th

by musicclipoftheday

two takes

Need a lift?

Charles Ives (1874-1954), Ragtime Dance No. 4 (1904)

Alarm Will Sound, live, New York, 2013


Orchestra New England, recording, 1990



musical thoughts

As I remember some of the dances as a boy, and also from father’s description of some of the old dancing and fiddle playing, there was more variety of tempo than in the present-day dances. In some parts of the hall a group would be dancing in polka, while in another, a waltz. Some of the players in the band would, in an impromptu way, pick up with the polka, and some with the waltz, and some with a march. Often the piccolo or cornet would throw in asides. Sometimes a change in tempo, or a mixed rhythm would be caused by a fiddler who, after playing three or four hours steadily, was getting a little sleepy. Or maybe another player was seated too near the hard cider barrel. Whatever the reason for these changes and simultaneous playing of things, I remember distinctly catching a kind of music that was natural and interesting and which was decidedly missed when everybody came down ‘blimp’ on the same beat again.

—Charles Ives