Richard White: Ragtime Piano Music and Band Arrangements

Photo of Richard White
I've had a fascination for Ragtime music since childhood, specifically the style known as Classic ragtime, best exemplified by the piano works of Scott Joplin, James Scott, and Joseph Lamb. In those days (1950's) hardly anyone was playing ragtime, much less composing it! Although Scott Joplin and James Scott were long gone by then, Joseph Lamb was still alive and putting finishing touches on unpublished rags during that time; but it was a music that had long passed its heyday as a living art form. Curiously, we both lived in Brooklyn, New York during the 1950's (although sixty years apart!), and we probably lived not more than a few miles from each other! What a golden opportunity it would have been to have met him! Alas...

As is the case with music of substance and vitality, ragtime gradually emerged from the shadows of jazz. This renewed interest eventually blossomed into a a full-scale revival during the 1970's. But there is something about being au courant that is anathema to me, so it was not until 1989 (a time when interest in ragtime had once again waned considerably) that I plunged in and wrote Scenes of Old Brooklyn, eight rags and ragtime inspired piano pieces. My aim then, as now, is to emulate as best I can both the style and the spirit of this amazing music: music that transcends its era and is as alive and vital now as it was when it was all the rage. Presented here are samples scores and complete recordings of the fruits of that labor of love. Please enjoy these infectious pieces and know that more is to come!

NEW: All the recordings below are now COMPLETE recordings.

NEW: I have arranged a goodly number of my piano rags for ragtime ensemble. Although I know of no hard and fast rule concerning the makeup of a typical ragtime ensemble, I chose those instruments that might normally have appeared in bands during the Ragtime Era: flute (double on piccolo), Bb clarinet (double on A), 2 trumpets (C), trombone, tuba, piano, drums, banjo, 2 violins, viola, cello, and string bass. Naturally, I expanded many of the piano rags to include additional contrapuntal lines as well as register changes to reflect the additional resources available with a band of 14 players as opposed to two hands and ten fingers. And what fun it was to dress up my little creations! Below are complete recordings of 17 of them. I hope you enjoy them!

BRAND NEW: I have just added the recordings of the instrumental arrangements of Scenes of Old Brooklyn. The orchestrations are similar to those for the piano rags as described above.

For more information about this music or to share your thoughts and comments, contact me at
You can now purchase scores of my ragtime piano music at:

Scenes of Old Brooklyn

'Classic' Rags (2002)

'Classic' Rags (2005)


Scenes of Old Brooklyn

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