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

mmckay macjazz at se.rr.com
Tue Jun 27 09:46:51 PDT 2006

I think it is basically poetic license (as one who can quote much of Dan
McGrew as well as other Service poems pretty well verbatim). You see it
twice in just that line and have questioned both. "Hitting" for "playing"
and "Jag" for "Rag."

It is what makes it HKOP. (His kind of poetry.)


Martin D. McKay (Designated Listener.)

-----Original Message-----
From: dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com
[mailto:dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com] On Behalf Of Bill Gunter
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 12:28 PM
To: dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] "...playing a jag-time tune..."

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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