John William Boone’s Contribution to American Music
Music historians agree that Boone’s style of playing and composing nourished the roots from which ragtime and other forms of great American music sprang. Unlike his younger contemporaries Scott Joplin and James Scott, however, he did not make publishing his work a central part of his career. He was a concert artist first and foremost, and only those who heard him perform live ever felt the full impact of his music. Nonetheless, collectors have recovered sheet music for some of his compositions and a handful of player piano rolls. The tunes below were taken from these rolls, recorded for the QRS Company of Chicago in 1912. Though the production process used by QRS cannot perfectly capture Boone’s best playing style, they do give a taste of his brilliance.