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Axel Christensen: The Czar of Ragtime and his Ragtime Review

Featuring a digitized full-text version of this ragtime-era periodical from 1914 to 1918

 

By Ted Tjaden

(originally published June 2006 and updated periodically)

 

Axel Christensen, the so-called "Czar of Ragtime" from Chicago, played an influential role in promoting the popularity of ragtime piano through his instruction manuals and ragtime piano instruction schools. He was the editor of the Ragtime Review (1914-1918), a "monthly magazine for amateur and professional pianists" that was "devoted to ragtime and popular music" (in fact, the magazine was largely an advertisement for his schools and instructions methods). Christensen also composed and published a number of rags in the Midwestern style; four of his music school colleagues and fellow teachers also published rags: Edward Mellinger, Marcella Henry, Robert Marine and Bernard Brin. This essay is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 provides brief biographical information about Christensen. Chapter 2 sets out all 33 monthly issues of the Ragtime Review (provided in full-text), with Chapter 3 providing links to the sheet music of compositions by Christensen and his four colleagues. Chapter 4 will include selected .MP3 recordings of some of this music. Chapter 5 contains the full-text of two Axel Christensen instruction manuals.

The following links will launch new pages on this site:

1)  The Czar of Ragtime: Axel Christensen
2)  Ragtime Review (1914-1918)
3)  Sheet Music from the Ragtime Review by Axel Christensen and others
4)  Recordings of Select Axel Christensen Compositions
5)  Axel Christensen Instructional Manuals

Left: Photo of Axel Christensen, circa 1931
(photo taken from A Critical Survey of the Laugh Industry brochure, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department)

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This site created by Ted Tjaden. Page last updated: September 08, 2012.