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Canadian Capers

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Kitty Hawk

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One of Ayn Rand's favorite pieces of "tiddlywink music" was Canadian Capers, a ragtime composition. You can listen to it at Dismuke's website, Music with an Ayn Rand Connection, or you can purchase it on the cd, Keyboard Wizards III: Arden and Ohman.

Whenever I have seen Canadian Capers referred to, it is always attributed to "Chandler, White, Cohen." The Arden and Ohman performance, evidently the performance Ayn Rand possessed, is instrumental. But there were song lyrics that went with it as well, and the lyrics were written by Chandler and White.

But neither they nor Cohen wrote the music. I discovered the composer in a book called Rags and Ragtime: A Musical History, by David A. Jasen and Trebor Jay Tichenor. The composer was a black ragtime and jazz pianist named Sid Le Protti, referred to as a "legendary Barbary Coast performer and composer." Here is what Jasen and Tichenor wrote about it:

An interesting rag, it is part of a much larger work by San Francisco pianist Sid Le Protti.  Cohen happened to hear Le Protti doing his specialty in a saloon, requested him to play it over many times during the next few weeks and tipped him a couple of dollars each time it was requested.  Cohen wrote out that portion of the piece he wanted and got Chandler and White to write the lyrics.  It has become one of the ragtime favorites of this period [1915].

I just thought the credit for that wonderful piece of music ought to be directed to the man who actually composed it.

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