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David Laibman

 

David Laibman is a master of fingerstyle picking and an entertaining purveyor of ragtime guitar music. He began playing the guitar in the early 1960s and is considered to be one of the founders of modern fingerstyle classic ragtime guitar. David is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. But he also is a fingerstyle guitarist! With Eric Schoenberg, David recorded The New Ragtime Guitar for Folkways Records in 1970. This was a groundbreaking collection of sophisticated and complex fingerstyle guitar arrangements of classical piano ragtime compositions. David’s arrangements of this genre has set the benchmark for piano arrangements being adapted to guitar. These are not for the faint of heart guitarists!

Tablature and music is available as a PDF file for each lesson. Lessons are filmed with multiple cameras and consist of a performance, explanation, and conclude with a slow tempo split screen that follows the tab/music.


 

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David Laibman Single Song Downloads


Contentment Rag
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

Joseph Lamb was one of the top three ragtime composers in the early 20th century, and the only one who was white. A New Jersey native, Lamb lived until 1960. He wrote Contentment Rag in 1915. The "contentment" in the title was an homage to the happy marriage of the piece's publisher, Abe Stark. The melodic and harmonic simplicity of the piece speaks to its origin in an era of hope and optimism (the Great War notwithstanding!).

Played in the keys of G and C.

 


Original Rags
Level: 3/4
Tuning: Standard

This is one of Scott Joplin's early compositions composed in 1899. This version has just three parts; the finale is a reprise of the first part. The melody has a sweetness that rewards a slow and expressive treatment. You can make it cover a range of emotions, from grand and sweeping to quiet and tender. Played in the keys of A and D.


Pandora's Rag
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

David Laibman composed this original classic rag in 2006. The full (non-teaching) version is a fourth higher: Am, C and A; I worked out this version starting in Em in order to stick as closely as possible to first position. I kept it in the classical ragtime (and march) form with four 16-bar themes, preceded by a four-bar Introduction: (Intro)AABBACCDD. You will enjoy ragtime most if you check out the structures, as well as the moods, of the pieces. Some of mine are more experimental than others, but this one fits the classical form exactly.


Ragtime Nightingale
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

David Laibman composed this original classic rag in 2006. The full (non-teaching) version is a fourth higher: Am, C and A; I worked out this version starting in Em in order to stick as closely as possible to first position. I kept it in the classical ragtime (and march) form with four 16-bar themes, preceded by a four-bar Introduction: (Intro) AABBACCDD. You will enjoy ragtime most if you check out the structures, as well as the moods, of the pieces. Some of mine are more experimental than others, but this one fits the classical form exactly.


Ragtime Oriole
Level: 4
Tuning: Drop G Tuning (DGDGBE)

James Scott was the most “pianistic” of the early ragtime composers. He composed Ragtime Oriole in 1911. His use of the entire piano keyboard makes his work very hard to transfer to the more limited range of the guitar. I learned this piece from an early Fred Van Eps rendition on tenor banjo, with piano accompaniment. The range problem is helped by using an unusual “drop” tuning, plus some opportunistic natural harmonics.


The Entertainer
Level: 3
Tuning: Drop D Tuning

Scott Joplin's 1902 classic rag, The Entertainer. Everyone knows this tune; it has become part of American musical culture. In New York City, it even pours out of ice cream trucks! I have kept this version mainly in first position. Once you learn this, however, you can try working out ways to repeat each theme in a higher register. It is even fun to combine registers.