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mogvinda
05-18-2009, 10:37 AM
Does anyone know the name of the piano sound/style (tbh i am not sure what determines the sound, is it a particular style, or is it the brand or is it how it is played??) that you hear on films in old wild west bars?

Not sure if that was very clear :confused:.

An example of the sound I am trying to describe is the opening part of Joe Bonamassa's Jockey Full of Bourbon. It is up on Spotify so you can listen to it free and legally!

Malcolm
05-18-2009, 12:07 PM
Saloon Rag Time --- ???.

mogvinda
05-19-2009, 11:12 AM
Sounds like it should be right! Any idea of the name/type of piano that gives that sound?

motown01
07-07-2009, 01:18 AM
probably ragtime or swing?

JJ_Smokes
07-13-2009, 02:47 PM
It's called ragtime.

To answer your question about what determines the sound... Ragtime came into it's own in America in the late 1800's and is a type of piano music defined by a usually upbeat tempo but especially syncopated rhythms. A syncopated rhythm is where there is a heavy emphasis on the "off-beat". If you imagine a drum going "boom-chick-boom-chick-boom-chick," the off-beat would be the "chick" part. This off-beat is usually emphasized by the right hand and is the hallmark of ragtime.

If you are looking for an authentic ragtime sound, you'll want any upright honky-tonk piano, and if you really want to sound 'old-west', make sure it's a bit out of tune :)

JonR
07-13-2009, 07:50 PM
Ragtime is a very jaunty but delicate sound - might be commonly used for wild west saloons in films where they want a jolly, happy vibe.
Here's the most famous ragtime tune, by the best known ragtime composer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPmruHc4S9Q

As JJ_Smokes says, ragtime dates from the late 1800s (in fact the 1890s and 1900s), so would not have been present in ACTUAL wild west saloons any time before that. But then I guess you mean "wild west" as depicted in Hollywood films anyhow... ;)

The type of music the real wild west (mid-late 19th century) would have had would probably have been vaudeville. It was basically an urban music, but would no doubt have filtered out to the west, at least in the larger towns.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaudeville
They would have had blackface minstrel entertainers too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minstrel_show
Of course, by the time sound recording was invented, most of that music was in the past. A few phonograph recordings do exist of ragtime and vaudeville, but mostly from after 1900 - and from popular urban stars of the time too. So we don't really know how REAL wild west music would have sounded.

Indeterminacy
07-14-2009, 06:53 PM
If you imagine a drum going "boom-chick-boom-chick-boom-chick," the off-beat would be the "chick" part. This off-beat is usually emphasized by the right hand and is the hallmark of ragtime.

If you are looking for an authentic ragtime sound, you'll want any upright honky-tonk piano, and if you really want to sound 'old-west', make sure it's a bit out of tune :)

That "boom-chick" left hand style is typically called stride playing, and is also used in other styles, including jazz.

You're definitely right about the piano needing to be out of tune.... :)