The Russian Rag by Robert L. Cobb has been made popular in the Mandolin World by the recording made by Dave Apollon in the 30s. David Grisman has published the recordings by Dave Apollon in the 70s (The Man with the Mandolin). The transcription of the Russain Rag for mandolin has been published in the Mandolin World News at the same time.
Since then the Russian Rag is a favorite tune also for mandolin players, bluegrass bands, mandolin ensembles and even big mandolin orchestras. I have studied the Mandolin World News transcription and like to play the tune every now and then. So it was much fun to search through youtube to find many other versions of the Russian Rag.
Originally this ragtime was composed for the piano, and we still can listen to some early piano rolls with the Russian Rag:
Ampico Lexington – 88n – Russian Rag
The Modern Mandolin Quartet with Mike Marshall has played the Russian Rag, the mandolin orchestra of the Mandolin Symposion Orchester in 2009 has played it (sheet music for the orchestra version was available as free download…), the European Guitar & Mandolin Youth Orchestra conducted by Carlo Aonzo has played it, and even mandolin ensembles in Japan enjoy playing this music.
This Russian version of the Russian Rag is played with Balalaika and Piano – especially interesting is the slower middle part (does anyone understand what they are singing?):
This is one of the versions from Japan:
トゥクトゥクスキップ – Russian Rag (ロシア民謡～Dave Apollon, Sam Bush)#
The following thread in the Mandolin Cafe gives some information and also a link to the Indiana University where a scan of the original version for piano is available as free download.
Try here for the piano sheet music
If that doesn’t work, go to http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/inharmony/welcome.do
then enter russian rag in the search box at the top.
Playlist Russian Rag – Robert L. Cobb
With versions for piano, mandolin solo, mandolin quartet, mandolin orchestra, banjo ensemble, banjo and washboard, bluegrass and, ragtime band – enjoy the Russian Rag by Robert Linus Cobb!
Some links about Ragtime:
Tabs for the Russian Rag are available at:
Sheet music is available in the Petrucci Library: