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ALEXANDERS RAG TIME BAND

 
SONG & HIT DETAILS
 
Artist Name: ALICE FAYE
 
 
Song Author: Irving Berlin.
 
 
Year Recorded: 1911
 
SONG PROFILE
 
Alexander's Ragtime Band

Alexander's Ragtime Band is the name of a song by Irving Berlin.

It was his first major hit, in 1911.

There is some evidence that Berlin borrowed the melody from a draft composition submitted by Scott Joplin that had been submitted to a publisher.

Alexander's Ragtime Band" is not itself an example of the ragtime musical idiom; apart from some mild syncopation, it has almost none of ragtime's characteristic features.

The lyrics clearly refer to the arrival of African-American musicians on the popular scene with their then-new idea of playing standard songs in a more exciting up-tempo style.

Lyrics:

Oh ma honey . . . ain't you goin' to the leaderman, the ragged meter man
References to "jazzing up" popular music include:

They can play a bugle call like you never heard before
So natural that you want to go to war
That's just the bestest band what am, honey lamb
and:

If you care to hear the Swanee River played in ragtime
The new style included new ways of playing traditional instruments as well:

There's a fiddle with notes that screeches
Like a chicken
And the clarinet is a colored pet