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Bethena: Scott Joplin's Ragtime Waltz for Viola Ensemble

Digital Sheet Music

By Scott Joplin

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Viola - Early Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Scott Joplin (1868-1917). Arranged by Eliana Haig. 20th Century, Ragtime. 18 pages. Published by Viola Spot Music (S0.237223).

Item Number: S0.237223

“Bethena” is a ragtimewaltz composed by Scott Joplin in 1905. With its moderate tempo and beautifulmelodic writing, this arrangement showcases the singing tone and range of theviola, and is appropriate for both student and professional groups (see playing level notes below). I have shortened the composition by removing several sections from the original piano score, in order to create a simpler, more student-friendly arrangement.

Joplin wrote “Bethena”shortly after the death of his wife, Freddie, of pneumonia. Bethena's sweet, wistfulmelodies seem to recall happy memories from another time.

Duration: approx. 3:15

Playing Level

Viola 4: RCM Level 2, ASTA Level 2, Suzuki early-mid book 2 Thepart 4 bowings are simple and the piece is at a moderate tempo. Some use of low2nd finger, high 3rd finger, and low 1stfinger.

Viola 3: RCM Level 2, ASTA Level 2, Suzuki early-mid book 2. Someuse of low 2nd finger, high 3rd finger, and low 1stfinger. Optional double stops. If the student is not comfortable withdouble-stopping, they may play the top line only.

Viola 2: RCM Level 2, ASTA Level 2, Suzuki late book 2. Onepassage requiring shift to the 3rd position. Some use of low 2ndfinger, high 3rd finger, and low 1st finger. Repeatedsyncopated rhythms.

Viola 1: RCM Level 6, ASTA Level 5, Suzuki Book 4-5. TrebleClef. Shifts up to the 5th position at a moderate tempo. Extendedpassages in 3rd position. Some chromatic passages.

For more viola teaching and playing resources, visit or find Suzuki Viola Spot on Facebook.

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