Rattlesnake Rag (Kevin Olson)
Level: Late Intermediate
When the Nevada Music Teachers Association (NMTA) requested a commissioned duet for their students to perform at the 2021 NMTA State Conference, I immediately started brainstorming about the unique features of the desert Southwest and the energy of the Wild West that was present during the Great Gold and Silver rushes in the 19th century. I decided to combine both elements in a lively ragtime piece that would capture the dangerous “rattle” of the snakes that line the dusty trails through the Nevada sagebrush. Listen for the rattling trills in each part, and the way the two pianists slither to a new position on the piano halfway through the piece. I hope you enjoy this tribute to the music that lives on today in the Nevada desert!