American Ragtime and the Russian Five, and French Six

Enjoy David playing ratime

American Ragtime was founded by Scott Joplin, Arthur Marshall and Scott Hayden. Arthur Marshall  was only fifteen years old when Scott Joplin first arrived in Sedalia, Missouri. Joplin took up residence with the Marshall family, and before long both Marshall and Scott Hayden, a Lincoln High School classmate of Marshall, became Joplin’s protégés. Marshall had already taken some private lessons in classical music years before, and was versed with piano technique and a gift for syncopation. The Marshall had family moved to Sedalia, Missouri because black children were allowed to attend school nine months a year there as opposed to the three months allowed blacks elsewhere. Sedalia townspeople were reportedly more acceptable of African Americans.[1] Joplin also helped get Marshall a job at the Maple Leaf Club during its single year of existence in 1899. The featured picture displays the famous Maple Leaf Rag.

American Ragtime Needs More Recognition

I hold a Master of Music Degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Yet, I never even heard of, let alone conceived of, an  American Ragtime as being led by three composers. With my musical education I knew of the Russian Five and the French Six. Now, we have an American Three as plain as day.  I  play ragtime outdoors at the Crab and Fin restaurant on St Armands Circle in Sarasota, Fl. See  featured events on for time and location. Ragtime lightens moods, forms smiles, and and creates hearty laughter. Isn’t that an important part of living?

American Ragtime Was Lead by Three Composers; The Movement Had Six

French Six -The members were Georges Auric (1899–1983), Louis Durey (1888–1979), Arthur Honegger (1892–1955), Darius Milhaud (1892–1974), Francis Poulenc (1899–1963), and Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983).

Even the French were influence by American Ragtime
Groups of composers working together was an important part of musical history.

Le Groupe des six, 1921 painting by Jacques-Émile Blanche. Only five of Les Six are represented; Louis Durey was not present. In the center: pianist Marcelle Meyer. On the left, from bottom to top: Germaine Tailleferre, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, Jean Wiener. On the right, standing Francis Poulenc, Jean Cocteau; and seated Georges Auric.[1]

Les Six” (pronounced: [le sis]) is a name given to a group of six French composers who worked in Montparnasse. The name, inspired by Mily Balakirev‘s The Five, originates in critic Henri Collet‘s 1920 article “Les cinq Russes, les six Français et M. Satie” (Comœdia (fr), 16 January 1920). Their music is often seen as a reaction against the musical style of Richard Wagner and the impressionist music of Claude Debussy.

The Russian Five

The Mighty Handful (Russian: Могучая кучка) were five prominent, 19th-century Russian composers who worked together to create a distinctly Russian classical music. Mily Balakirev (the leader), César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Borodin all lived in Saint Petersburg, and collaborated from 1856

Mighty Handful.jpg
Mily Balakirev (top)
César Cui (upper left)
Modest Mussorgsky (upper right)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (lower left)
Alexander Borodin (lower right)

American Ragtime is the Crown of the New Music in America

So what are these groupings of composers all about with American Ragtime.  People in arts helping each other by pooling together ideas and resources. Creative artists need all the help they can get. This is true be it the general public, government, private donors or just friends. And when artists pool thoughts and ideas together, they create new directions and trends to match changing times.

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