Note about Piano Duet Arrangements


There are over a hundred piano duet arrangements by William Severson on this site. They are numbered MPMP02XXX where greatest XXX is now above a hundred, and they are mostly rags and popular solo music from the first decades of the 20th century.


The rags are emulating the practice on some piano rolls of rags of the period to increase the brilliance and sonority by octave doublings but in a piano duet. So these arrangements sound close to the original rags just with more brilliance and sonority. The intention is not to change the rags but to intensify their effect.


These arrangements are written for and intended for performance. To this end minimizing page turns is more important than size of the notes.  


On the accompanying audio tracks, tempo is a contested subject. Scott Joplin insists that his rags are to be played slowly. But modern practice seems to have speed contests when playing rags. Personally I take a moderate approach, I find the more musical meat in a piece the slower I like it played. The rag and rag era pieces that I have arranged are tagged with metronome marking of 62 to 92  for a quarter note. Of course, your tempo is your business.


The accompanying audio files are synthesized from the music by Finale 2012 using the human playback and piano samples from Garritan Personal Orchestra  and ambience of a recital hall added by Garritan Ambience. The MP3Ős are produced by Mac iTunes from the AIFFŐs from Finale. So far there are just short of 4 hours of audio files of that period now on this site. In a real sense these audio files are equivalent to the playing the piano rolls of the period. Enjoy.


Some of these duet arrangemets have been used by tne Golden Age Ensemble in concerts given in the San Francisco Bay Area.


The arranger would like to hear about these arrangements from piano duettists as many of these have not been used in performance due to ill health. His email is


Put MPMP at the first of the subject line to pass the junk filter.


Modified last on 12/6/14.