The "Silent Movie Rag" by James Domine is exactly as the title implies, a carefully crafted piano solo modeled after the early 20th style of the ragtime dance music exemplified in the compositions of Scott Joplin and other popular American composers. Written initially in response to a special request for a ragtime piece that a young piano student of Joanna Ezrin wanted to play, the first draft was called "Caitlyn's Rag" and this part of the music remains as the second theme of the finished work. The piece is subtitled "Tarzana Tune" because the composer played regularly for a period of time in a jazz ensemble at a bar located in Tarzana, California. This west San Fernando Valley community was once the home of Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan novels, and the town bears the name of that jungle-dwelling hero as a tribute to its most celebrated resident.
The opening melodic motive is an onomatopoeic representation of Tarzan's famous yell, or call that he used to summon his friends and allies in the animal kingdom to his aid when he needed their assistance in dangerous situations fraught with peril and times of trouble. The original Tarzan movies were silent, and were accompanied in this early period of cinematic entertainment by a piano score. The "Silent Movie Rag" is intended to emulate such music and embody the ragtime style and spirit of early 20th century dance music.
The "Silent Movie Rag - Tarzana Tune" made its public debut on March 14, 2021 as the fifth in a series of Sunday afternoon premiere performances of Domine’s solo piano pieces on his YouTube channel for an audience of invited listeners.
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