David Laibman is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He received a Ph.D. in Economics in 1973 at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York. His dissertation, The Invariance Condition for Value-Price Transformation in a Linear, Non-Decomposable Two-Sector Model, dealt with problems in Marxist value theory. Laibman teaches economic theory, political economy, and mathematical economics, at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels at CUNY.
He is also a fingerstyle guitarist, especially its application to the ragtime music of the early twentieth century. With Eric Schoenberg, Laibman recorded The New Ragtime Guitar for Folkways Records in 1970. Rounder Records released his solo album, Classical Ragtime Guitar, in 1980. Laibman has worked with a variety of artists in the early folk world, using his advanced finger picking technique. One notable album is "Way Out West" by Scottish Folksinger Alex Campbell, in 1963. Of note is the track "Orange Blossom Special" which showcases the talent that Laibman was developing.
In this unique lesson David Laibman teaches two Classic Ragtime compositions: Red Carpet Rag and Scott Joplins 1899 famous Maple Leaf Rag. These are difficult arrangements but they are taught section by section, including split-screen segments, where you can see exactly what the left and right hands are doing. David explains fingerings, slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs, harmonics, and any other technical points. Also, complete music and tablature are included.
As David says often in the lesson, "Fingerstyle guitar is a creative process, and there is no single right way to do things. I am always discovering new ways to play certain bits, and then wondering why it took me so long to find them. If the fingering of a passage seems difficult and you want to change it, go right ahead! Fingerings should work for the music, and for you. Above all, ragtime should be fun. Enjoy!"
100 minutes • Level 4 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Classic Ragtime Guitar is a section-by-section lesson for learning two classic ragtime compositions, “Red Carpet Rag” and Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag.” Laibman has developed a style based on practical physical considerations: His teaching encourages the viewer to try different methods of playing to determine what works best for the individual. His message is to respect the rules of musicianship, but to keep oneself open to alternative methods and use what works.
Laibman offers very detailed information on fingering. Each section shows the right and left hand in a split-screen format, and he often demonstrates two ways to fret a chord or passage using different fingering. He also covers dropped D tuning and discusses fingerboard positions at length, describing muting, use of the thumb, and fretting with the flat part of the left index finger instead of the fingertip. The DVD includes a booklet with musical notation and tablature for each song, as well as PDF files on the DVD.
This is an entertaining video even for non-musicians. Watching a musical master divulge his technique is fascinating, and the tunes are a classically familiar treat. – Tim Whitehouse, Taylor On Review