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Ragtime's Folies

Ragtime's Folies


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A comic strip taken from a silent short film made in the 1920s style with ragtime music in the background, based on La Fontaine's fable . With a documentary on ragtime and silent burlesque cinema . The DVD contains the film and nine other short films , the audio CD thirteen ragtime tracks .

The cinematograph was invented, almost simultaneously, on both sides of the Atlantic, by the French Louis and Auguste Lumière in 1895 and by the American Thomas Alva Edison in 1896. The first public screenings took place mainly in the back rooms of bars but soon in rooms specifically dedicated to cinema, such as movie theaters . From the very first public screenings there appeared the need to drown out the noise made by the projectors. We therefore called on local pianists, who illustrated the short films by playing fashionable sentimental songs inherited from the minstresly , but also pieces from the dances and songs of the plantation which we would later call the “ Rags ".

The two genres were distinctly practiced by whites (the same people who created Minstrel Art) and blacks, who used their African American heritage in the form of disjointed “potpourris” (Ragged). Due to the variety of scenes projected, the pianists had to make great use of improvisation, either to connect pre-existing piano pieces or by purely improvising all the scenes with their eyes glued to the screen. Let us also note in passing that on certain occasions, player pianos were used with rolls containing medleys of songs or character pieces, mainly in establishments that did not have the means to employ a musician.

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