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Tom Brier plays Maple Leaf Rag in A, G, B, and as a waltz in B

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Uploaded on Mar 25, 2010

(Originally published in A-flat.)

As well as people asking to hear Tom play Scott Joplin rags, I had one person specifically ask, "Can Tom play the Maple Leaf Rag?" Well, of course I knew he could, as I've heard him play it with other musicians (and, honestly, what ragtimer can't play it?) . I even participated in an after-hours four-piano rendition with Tom, Scott Kirby and the late Patrick Gogherty in the early 1990s when I could play it reasonably well.

However, I'd never actually heard Tom play it solo. The closest was hearing him play the song version (which is in E-flat) for a stage show on Joplin's life.

I mentioned this to Will Perkins, whom you see on the right, and Will commented that he'd never heard Tom play Maple Leaf solo either, so he asked Tom if he'd play it for us.

Of course, simply playing Maple Leaf Rag in the original key of A-flat would be boring, so Tom decided on a whim to play it in A natural. Then he shrugs and plays it again in G, before taxing himself by attempting to play it in the hardest key, B.

When I joked, "How about as a waltz?" he complied with an on-the-spot waltz rendition of the final strain, but still using the difficult key of B major.

So, to answer the question, "Can Tom play the Maple Leaf Rag?" Yes, he can. In what key and what time signature would you like?

Please see this follow-up video -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6oYB... -- in which he and a couple others play this in all 12 major keys and four different time signatures.

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