[Dixielandjazz] "...playing a jag-time tune..."

Bill Gunter jazzboard at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 27 09:28:03 PDT 2006

Hello Bob,

You wrote (regarding the Service poem):

---> quote

" . . . you have misquoted Service. The line runs " ... hitting a jag-time 

---> end quote

That is correct.

Then you wrote:


"and this makes a world of difference. If, in fact, 'the kid' was producing 
ragtime, then he would be playing it and not hitting it. One of the 
definitions of 'jag' is intoxication, so any intoxicated pianist would be 
hitting the keys in a somewhat jagged manner, or in other words 'hitting a 
jag-time tune'.
I rest my case."

--->end quote

Nice try.

The metaphor "hit" meaning "play" is an old established one.  Band leaders 
are often quoted as saying "Hit it, boys!" (Lawrence Welk comes to mind).

And as far as the meaning of the word "jag"  is concerned, my Roget's 
thesaurus lists several (as synonyms for "jagged") including "ragged, 
divided and uneven."  Seems obvious to me that when Service wrote " . . . 
hitting a jag time tune" he was using a slangy sort of language to mean 
essentially " . . . playing a rag time tune."


Bill "drunken washboard player" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com

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