Keeper's long-lost MIDI files
My own music listed
in approximate order of composition
Sheet music scores of
Infernally Unnamable Rag,
To the Nines (OUT OF PRINT individually),
Fast Cat Rag,
Mad Scientist Rag
Puppy Dog Rag,
Skunk in the Parlor, and
A Rag-Time Hullabaloo
are available for $3 each. Also, a ring-bound folio all the first nine of the above
plus eight more (all the titles listed below down to Skunk in the Parlor
with the exception of the Happy Birthday arrangement and the Angelina
17 Rags by Ron O'Dell is available for $20.
Send check or money order to Ron O'Dell,
3340 Dog Leg Dr, Minden, NV 89423. Please specify which tune(s)
- Spontaneity Rag --
Level 1 -- 25 February 1992
My first attempt at composition. Originally four strains, but I deleted
the second. The final two strains are improved over how they originally
were written. The name is a reference to how I'm always coming up with
fully orchestrated music in my head, and often whistling a spontaneously
created tune. I decided I should try to write down something that I'm
spontaneously coming up with, and this was the result of the first
attempt. There are several odd things about this harmonically.
Obviously, I was still in need of refinement. This MIDI file is out
of date; I have since removed the first strain and written two new
- Happy Birthday ragtime
arrangement -- Level 3 -- Updated
I fixed up this arrangement to make it sound more hand-played, and improved
the ending. The person whose birthday I used as an excuse to write this
never heard it. Ah well.
- Conversation Pieces --
Level 1 -- 23 July 1992
My most ambitious and probably best work. I originally wrote the first
strain (oddly at only 15 measures) and thought it would be nice to make
four simple strains and call them Conversation Pieces, but the next three
strains ended up being the most complicated music I had written, despite
the fact that they came straight from mind to simulated paper almost immediately,
writing out several measures at a time without playing them. The minor
strain of this is the only piece of my music I can actually play. Tom Brier
said it was "exquisite" when I played it for him. It doesn't
sound so exquisite in the MIDI file. I've started to work on a better arrangement
of this, to make it sound hand-played, give it shading and pedal, but there's
no guarantee I'll ever get around to finishing that.
Click here for live performance by Tom Brier
(streaming MP3 sound file, 619K).
- That Crotchety Old Rag --
Level 1 -- 7 December 1992
- Greasy Spoon Rag --
Level 3 -- 15 July 1994
I thought up the first strain of this while sitting on the runway in an
airliner at the Atlanta airport. During my trip to Georgia, I had eaten
at a rather expensive cafe which served the greasiest foods imaginable.
So it was obvious what I should name the rag I ended up with.
- Affinity Rag -- Level
1 -- 8 September 1993
My first completely cohesive rag. All the parts feel right with one another.
Frank French said this was good piano roll material, though I've never
gotten around to making a piano-roll arrangement. Note how I recall the
intro near the end of the second strain. Unfortunately, I was not aware
when I named this (by looking in the dictionary for a descriptive noun
that seemed to fit!) that there had been an "Affinity Rag"
(composed by Irene Cozad) published during the classic ragtime
era. Click here for live performance
by Tom Brier (streaming MP3 sound file, 612K).
- Infernally Unnamable Rag (tentative
title) -- Level 1 -- 10 December 1993
I like early folk ragtime and cakewalks, so decided I'd try to write something
that sounds like it could have been composed in 1899. I succeeded quite
well. Upon hearing this piece, Tom Brier said, "This sounds like it's
from 1899!" I tried writing lyrics for the folksong style melody in
the third strain in an attempt to find something to name this rag, but
the lyrics were stupid so I erased them from my master copy, and have pretty
much decided on this for a title. This was my first completely cohesive
composition. Click here for live performance
by Tom Brier (streaming MP3 sound file, 474K).
- Fast Cat Rag -- Level
1 -- 5 January 1994
Probably the most untraditional of my compositions. I let my affinity for
baroque keyboard music filter through in the third strain. It created an
interesting fusion, sort of like Scott Joplin's "Euphonic Sounds."
This was named both for my own cat, who had an unbelievably fast pounce
even later in her life, and a friend who had a username of "katze"
and aspired to be a race car driver.
- The Scorcher -- Level
2 -- 28 December 1994
I saw a mention of "scorchers"
on a television program about the history of the bicycle, and figured that
these pre-combustion-engine Hell's Angels types should have a rag about
them, so I wrote one. Click here for live
performance by Tom Brier (streaming MP3 sound file, 571K).
- To the Nines
-- Level 3
-- 6 November 1999
My first new composition in nearly five years! The
title of this novelty is an expression for being dressed
in fancy clothes ("dressed to the nines").
However, in this case the music is a tribute to the year
1999. The music in this composition is Y2K compliant!
- Mad Scientist Rag
-- Level 3
-- 6 September 2001
I came up with the title while lying in bed after waking up
one day. This rag has some interesting things in it. While
the first strain is decidedly in E minor, the second strain
starts like it might continue in that key, but then quickly
switches to the relative G Major, only to fall back into
minor chords. Then it begins to modulate again and -- this
is the strange part -- it ends on a G minor chord, though
it works as a transition back to the beginning, rather than
feeling like an ending. The C strain is really a pair of
8-bar ideas which lead into the D strain. The first of
these utilizes diminished and augmented chords to evoke
the scene of the mad scientist's laboratory, like Dr
Frankenstein's with big electrical arcs and such. The second
has a series of tremelos in the left hand with a lot of
diminished chords, meant to evoke the evil experiment
coming to life, and that life is represented by the more
traditional, lighter D strain which spends its time
definitively in C Major until the cadence which ends it
in A Major (really A minor -- lots of baroque music in
minor keys end on the parallel major; I'm doing the same
thing here). Then it goes back to repeat the A strain one
last time. That strain ends on a root-position chord with
a 4-3 suspension, so the last note played is the third degree
of the chord -- again typical of baroque music, and very
effective for the mood here. If all the musical terminology
doesn't make sense to you, it's no matter; the music sounds
just fine without all the analysis!
Click here for live performance
by Tom Brier (streaming MP3 sound file, 611K).
- Fiancée Rag
-- Level 3
-- 9 July 2003
I had been working on this a little bit at a time over the course
of a year. I wanted to write something for my girlfriend, Linda,
and by the time I finished this, she wasn't my girlfriend
anymore. That's where I got the title from. It has some highly
unusual things in the second half.
- Tattle-Tale Rag
-- Level 2
-- 9 July 2003
I had come up with the title a while ago, and a notion of some
kind of descending chromatic figure in the first strain. As soon
as I had completed my Fiancée Rag, I began to
experiment with the notion. Five hours later, this entire
composition was complete. Chromatic figures ended up being
used throughout, providing a cohesiveness while also making this
something of a show-stopper.
Click here for live performance
by Tom Brier recorded at the Sutter Creek Ice Cream Emporium
in Sutter Creek, California (streaming MP3 sound file, 551K).
- Priority Rag
-- Level 3
-- 1 May 2004
Usually, I spend what little free time I have driving racing simulations instead of writing music. On the evening of April 30, 2004, I'd just acquired a new long-awaited simulation, but instead of installing it, I decided to write down the tune that was going through my head. Music is always being made up inside my head, but I usually do other things (like play racing games) instead of write music. Writing music should have a higher priority than simple entertainment. Because for once in my life I got my priorities straight, I named this piece Priority Rag. Click here for live performance
by Tom Brier (streaming MP3 sound file, 593K).
- Frivolity Rag --
Level 3 -- 2 May 2004
A day after composing Priority Rag, I wrote this, still determined to give
up my usual frivolous activities in order to write music! Click
here for live performance
by Tom Brier (streaming MP3 sound file, 573K).
- Bird-Bath Rag --
Hand-Played -- 31 May 2004
I was bored, not really in the mood to write music, when I composed this.
It's certainly not close to my best work, but I guess it has its charms.
There was a dead blue jay in my driveway when I was thinking about a name
for this rag, and it reminded me of watching one of them splash around in
a puddle a few days before. That's when I came up with the title.
This marks the first time I have hand-played a MIDI sequence on this site,
though it was done in several takes and only one hand at a time. I had
to quantize the notes to get my poor playing into some semblance of rhythm.
to view a live performance by Andrew Barrett (YouTube link).
- Puppy Dog Rag --
Level 3 -- 8 June 2004
I was definitely back on form when composing this. After finishing the first
strain, I said out loud, "OK, let's save this puppy," then stared at
the screen for several minutes wondering what to name it. The fact that I called
it a puppy and spoke it out loud struck me.
the first page (PDF file).
Click here for
live performance by Tom Brier (MP3 sound file, 783K).
- Theme to "Angelina" --
Level 3 -- 2 August 2004
NOTE: This is an orchestral/choral file with portamento controls on the voices and so forth
which probably will not play properly on anything but another Yamaha XG SoftSynthesizer,
with which I composed it.
Angelina is a cartoon series concept with a 36-episode
storyline by an extremely talented Italian animator friend of mine, Federica Giulietti.
Between jobs on various TV shows and at graphics arts studios, she has been working
on this concept for close to 10 years, and finished the animated title sequence in 2003.
I decided that it should have an original theme, so I wrote this music. It's my first
attempt at writing for orchestra. You can view the animation matched with the theme
by clicking here then choosing
on the left side which size file to download. Because of the compression, the sound
quality isn't so great. You can hear a clear MP3 of this music the way it should sound
and with most sound effects removed by clicking
here (the laughing voice
is my own!).
- Skunk in the Parlor --
Level 3 -- 15 November 2004
The Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival is known for having rags inspired by it, and in 2004,
I was encouraged to add an effort of my own. All the obvious titles were taken, so I had
to think of something original. Myself and other composers stay the weekend in a Victorian
house fondly nicknamed "Skunk Hollow" in the parlor of which is a piano which
gets played late into the night and early in the morning. Of course, Skunk Hollow already
has a rag named after it. But I thought about the parlor piano, and came up with the link
between skunks and piano keys -- both are black and white! So then, what if a skunk wandered
into the parlor, attracted to the piano? Thus I came up with the title, and began writing
music to match.
- Osawatomie --
Level 3 -- 23 January 2007
This is in the "Indian Intermezzo" style that also was popular during the ragtime era.
The style was created accidentally in 1901 by Charles N. Daniels' tune "Hiawatha"
(using one of his pseudonyms, Neil Moret). That tune was supposed to be about a train ride to
the town of Hiawatha, Kansas, but through misunderstanding its sound became recognized as
"Native" American music. Many other tunes in this style were written, and
several also were named after towns in Kansas. Most of my ragtime friends have composed
an Indian Intermezzo, so I thought should give it a try. When I saw the town name of
Osawatomie, I thought it was perfect for my situation, because it sounds similar
to saying, "Oh, so what o' me?" The town's claim to fame is being where
John Brown's abolitionist uprising began. I actually composed this in 2006.
- Fly-Swatter Rag --
Level 3 -- 6 February 2007
The title came to me in an instant when pianist Andrew Barrett accidentally blew
his sheet music right off the piano while trying to shoo away a fly during a
performance at the 2006 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival. Realizing that there was
no known rag by this name, I knew I had to write one.
- Morgan Hill Rag by
Ron "Keeper" O'Dell -- Hand-played -- 25 October 2007
This was one of the few occasions when I completed a tune without having a title in mind. Finally,
I realized that the town I was living in had celebrated its centenary a year earlier.
Since 1906 was right in the middle of the ragtime era, I decided to name this rag after
the town. Click here
to view a live performance by Tom Brier (YouTube link).
- Lucky Number Rag by
Ron "Keeper" O'Dell -- Level 2 -- 10 March 2008
I have often had ideas for strains in 7/8 time signature in my head, but never
sat down to write anything, and had given up on the idea. One day, I had the first
strain of this rag in my head, thinking it was in 2/4, but only when writing it
down did I realize it was in 7/4. I added an extra beat to make it 2/4, but then
had to come up with a title. Seeing that the tempo was set to 88, which is my lucky
number, I decided on this title. Then I realized that 7 is a lucky number for
many people, so re-wrote the first strain back in 7/4 time. A couple of normal
2/4 strains followed, but then I decided it had to end in 7/8.
- A Rag-Time Hullabaloo by
Ron "Keeper" O'Dell -- Level 3 -- 6 August 2008
After Lucky Number Rag, which I wasn't sure
I'd even show to anyone, I decided I needed to write a more traditional rag,
so once I came up with this title, it was off to the races. I stopped after two
strains and four measures of the third strain, stuck. Several months later,
I finally found a way through and completed this. I even made a cover so it
can be sold as an individual sheet.
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