A Stylistic Survey and Performance Guide of Three Popular Rags and Three Rags, Composed after 2008 by William Bolcom
This research paper will examine William Bolcom’s compositional style and performance challenges related to Three Popular Rags (1967-1968), Knockout: A Rag (2008), Estela: Rag Latino (2010), and Contentment - A Rag (2015). The aim is to reveal some of his contributions to the revival and expansion of ragtime. The paper includes a brief background on William Bolcom and a history of ragtime music. Differences between the compositional styles of Scott Joplin and Bolcom are discussed through descriptive analysis, focusing on musical forms, rhythms, harmonies, and textures. The performance suggestions include elements of dynamics, articulation, extended piano techniques, and pedal use. The author hopes that this stylistic analysis and performance guide will further interest in Bolcom’s piano ragtime music.