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.
“It is its own story - not an imitation of a piano, or of a dixieland or jazz band. It is, simply - ragtime guitar. In these lessons, I have tried, for the most part, to meet two goals. First, to create versions of some of the most beautiful classical rags that ‘lay down’ well on guitar, so when you play them you are working with the instrument, not fighting it. I have tried to pitch and arrange the pieces so that a lot of the action is in first position rather than high up on the neck, and to keep left-hand gymnastics to a minimum. Second, I didn’t want these arrangements to sound like ‘student’ arrangements, too elementary to be believable. It is all about striking a balance. I am generally pleased with the result, and I hope you will be too. While the focus of these lessons is on the ‘greats’ - Joplin (Original Rags, The Entertainer), Lamb (Contentment Rag, Ragtime Nightingale) and Scott (Ragtime Oriole) - I have also included one of my own recent compositions: Pandora’s Rag. This version is simpler than the one I play on my recent CD, Adventures in Ragtime, in Em, G and E, rather than Am, C and A, and not so high up the neck. I hope you like it; I think it has some nice harmonies.
No one will ever touch the ragtime masters, but I would not be doing them justice if I didn’t try to use their inspiration to strike out on my own a bit. And that is what you should do too! It would be great if you learn to play these charming and challenging pieces. But even greater if you improve the arrangements, adapt them to your own tastes, see if you can apply the various techniques to other music - ragtime, and beyond - that can give pleasure to yourself and others, and enrich the treasure-house of fingerstyle guitar. None of us has tapped even a fraction of its full potential - and that’s what makes it fun!” – David Laibman
This is a double DVD lesson with over four hours of music and instruction.
245 minutes • Level 3/4 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD