Elite Syncopations Part A

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Between last and this week, two WMDE colleagues and I created a short film about the new Musical Notation data type on Wikidata. For some of the scenes, we needed recordings of Scott Joplin’s Elite Syncopations, so I sat down and played the A part on repeat until I thought there was enough usable snippets, and we were able to cut together something we could put in the video.

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Another scene also called for a kind of distressed jangling, which would be played by the musician unable to read the LilyPond notation; I just improvised that for a while, first at random and then trying to guess what a musician might actually try to read from the text (most of the pitch names should be understandable if you’re familiar with Dutch/German note names, except for the q, which means “repeat chord”, but the notation to group several notes into a chord would not be easy to guess and might instead be played sequentially, etc.). And then I did that again because during the first improvisation I forgot to switch the piano to the same voice as for the proper recording.