Rules

Notice: Be sure to read rules 1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 18, 22, and 23 due to changes from prior years. Also, the rule barring three-time undefeated Champions from competing has been removed.

Rule 1 of the New Rag contest has changed, as well as rules 1, 8, 9, and 10 of the Duet Contest.

Don’t forget to check out the cutting contest, new for 2016!

Piano Contest

  1. The contest will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 27, 28 and 29, 2016 in Oxford, Mississippi.

  2. Contestants (18 years of age and older) must compete in the Preliminary Eliminations (PE’s) on Saturday in order to advance to the Semi­-Final and Final rounds, which take place on Sunday afternoon. The PE’s will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, 2016 and continue until each contestant has been heard (with a lunch break scheduled about 11:30 a.m.). The Semi­-Finals will begin at 1:00 pm on Sunday, May 29, 2016 with up to ten (10) Regular Division contestants who have advanced from Saturday’s first round.

  3. The Semi­-Finals will narrow the field of contestants to the final five (5), who will then compete immediately in the Finals to determine the winner and other finishing places. The winner will receive $1,500, a golden medallion and possession of the contest’s “Traveling Trophy” for one year. Second place will receive $1,000 and a silver medallion. Third place will receive $750 and a bronze medallion. Fourth and fifth places will be awarded cash prizes of $500 and $300 respectively, and will also receive bronze medallions.

  4. Contestants need to prepare six different selections written no later than 1939 (no medleys allowed), one of which must be a ballad or standard popular song, and not considered “Ragtime”. The music must be memorized. Two selections are played in the PE’s. Each player who advances into the Semi-Finals will play two more selections that meet contest requirements. Contestants must provide the title, composer, and year written for all selections to be played on their official entry blank, and must be prepared to document composition’s age if challenged. Contestants may change their selections up until the entry deadline which is May 14, 2016, when selections must be finalized and after which date no revisions to the play list may be made. With a late entry fee, a contestant failing to provide their playlist by the deadline may reenter if space in the field permits.

  5. Point totals are cumulative. Point totals from the PE’s determine contestants for the Semi­-Finals. Point totals from the Semi­-Finals will be added to the point totals from the PE’s to determine the top five (5) players who then advance to the Finals.

  6. Judges will award points in each round based on technique, style and interpretation, showmanship, and costume. In the event of a tie in points for any place, that contestant with the higher point total in technique will prevail, with the order of other tie­breaking categories to be: style and interpretation, showmanship, and costume.

  7. Contestants who advance to the Finals will play two (2) additional selections, one of which, a Blues tune, shall honor Mississippi and the ring of other states that surround it. Those qualifying states are Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas, and the musical reference extends to cities in those states, as well, so tunes about Memphis, New Orleans, Jackson, Nashville, Shreveport and others would qualify. The judges will then combine the points from the PE’s, Semi­Finals and Finals to determine the winner and other places.

  8. For the PE’s, Semi­-Finals and Finals, a total of eight (8) minutes playing time is allowed for each contestant’s performance of both tunes (not including time for audience applause, interview time with the emcee, etc.). Contestants exceeding the time limits will be penalized five (5) points for each fifteen (15) seconds or fraction thereof, of overtime.

  9. No religious or patriotic selections are allowed and vocal or instrumental accompaniment is prohibited. For the purpose of the World Championship Old-­Time Piano Playing Contest, the following definition of “old­-time” music will apply: The style of piano playing found primarily in public venues of performance between 1890 and 1939, particularly in bars and piano competitions, consisting of popular songs and instrumentals of that era, including ragtime, traditional jazz, novelty, stride, and boogie, but excluding advanced chord progressions more commonly found 1940 or later in symphonic, modern jazz and be­bop music forms. Selections may also include music idiomatic to solo piano performance and popular dance styles.

  10. Contestants in both the Junior and Regular Divisions will report to our green room Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. prior to the PE’s so lots can be drawn for order of play, and for any last­-minute instructions. Any contestant not reporting at this time cannot participate in the contest. If the contestant is not on hand when the playing position is called during competitions, the contestant will be considered to have withdrawn from competition. Order of play for the Semi­-Finals and Finals will be drawn on stage as soon as practical after completion of judging for that round, respectively.

  11. Each entry form must be accompanied by a $50 entry fee which is not refundable unless the contest is canceled.

  12. The use of alcohol or other controlled substances prior to or during competitions may result in disqualification.

  13. Costumes are required, and the judges will award points based on their old-­time appearance or authenticity in the PE’s, Semi­-Finals and Finals. Contestants will declare on the entry form whether their costumes are to be judged as authentic period dress (actual or replica) or theatrical performance-type, and they will be judged accordingly.

  14. On stage, contestants need provide only the title and composer of their selections prior to their playing although additional information may be requested by the contest M.C. during their on­stage interview. Composer names must appear on each entry.

  15. Challenges to a contestant’s selection must be made within five (5) minutes after the playing of the selection has been completed. Other contestants, contest officials and judges may challenge selections for age or other reasons. In the event that a selection does not qualify after it is challenged, the person playing it will be disqualified.

  16. The World Championship Old­-Time Piano Playing Contest is not responsible for the cost of travel, meals, lodging or other expenses incurred while competing. The contest will provide each contestant with one (1) complimentary all­-events tickets for their use. Contestants should advise when entering if a ticket is needed.

  17. The total number of contestants is limited to the first 26 paid entries, and each entry form shall list its music selections to be updated no later than May 14, 2016, the contest deadline. Entries will be accepted for up to sixteen (16) Regular Division contestants and Ten (10) Junior Division contestants. After the deadline, any remaining slots will be filled from the waiting list on a first-­come basis without regard to Division.

  18. Entries may be sent via U.S. Mail to the Contest Coordinator, Faye Ballard, 108 E Garwood, Champaign, IL 61820. She will also answer rule and contestant questions at this address: eballard@illinois.edu. On­line entries will be instantly processed through Paypal and assure registration. Mailed entries are subject to delays, and no entry will be considered official until the appropriate fee is received, with checks made out to the University of Mississippi­ - May Piano Contest. Walk­-on entries will be accepted on Saturday, May 28, 2016 until the limit of 26 contestants has been reached or the drawing for order of play has begun, whichever comes first. A late fee of an additional $50 shall apply to entries received after the deadline of May 14, 2016.

  19. By competing in the contest, participants agree to allow the use of their photographs and recorded performances on tape to promote the event.

  20. Disputes arising from the competitions or judging will be resolved by the contest judges, who will make the final decision.

  21. By entering the competition, the contestant agrees to supply his/her social security number if necessary to comply with United States tax laws.

  22. Additional Provisions Applicable Only to the Junior Division

  23. Junior contestants (17 years of age and younger on day of competition) do not advance beyond the first round (Preliminary Elimination). Following the Preliminary Elimination, the Junior Champion is named, is awarded a prize of $500 and a permanent trophy. A second place prize of $400, third place prize of $300, fourth place prize of $200 and a fifth place prize of $100 will be awarded. The Junior Division champion is traditionally invited to make a special appearance Sunday afternoon to play a tune on stage prior to the beginning of the competitions.

  24. The entry fee of the Junior Division is $25 with the penalty fee for late entry also $25. This entry fee is not refundable unless the contest is canceled.

  25. The penalty for playing in excess of the time limits prescribed is five (5) points for each 30 seconds, or fraction thereof, of overtime.

  26. Contestants in the Junior Division must have their entry blank signed by a parent or guardian.

  27. Any Junior contestant winning the division a total of three (3) times (not necessarily in consecutive years) may no longer compete in the Junior Division. However, the age requirement will be waived and they may compete in the Regular Division.

New Rag Contest

  1. The prize for the New Rag Contest shall be $200 and a trophy. The New Rag Contest is limited to a total of ten (10) competitors. Walk­-on entries will be allowed provided there are fewer than 10 advance entries. The entry fee is $25 and is not refundable unless the contest is canceled.

  2. A competitor may play a composition themselves or designate another piano player to do so for them beginning at 7:00 pm on Friday, May 27, 2016, following a drawing for order of play. The competition will continue until all have been heard, with the single winner being announced by the judges following the close of the competition.

  3. To qualify, the composition entered must be an original Rag, with three or more themes, that has not been previously published, recorded for sale, or previously played in this contest. Composers are limited to one entry per year.

  4. The contest provides qualified judges familiar with the music and capable of judging the composer’s success in writing Ragtime music.

  5. Each composition will be judged on originality, musicality and audience appeal. A written score of the music is not required by the judges.

  6. Entries for the New Rag Contest may be sent via U.S. Mail to the Contest Coordinator, Faye Ballard, 108 E Garwood, Champaign, IL 61820. She will also answer rule and contestant questions at this address: eballard@illinois.edu. On­line entries will be instantly processed through Paypal and assure registration. Mailed entries are subject to delays, and no entry will be considered official until the appropriate fee is received, with checks made out to the University of Mississippi­ - May Piano Contest.

Duet Contest

  1. The entry fee is $25 for two players competing on two pianos or both on a single piano. This entry fee is not refundable unless the contest is canceled.

  2. Any individual may only play in one pairing.

  3. A five­-minute time limit applies from a tune's start to finish.

  4. Any tune played must be written prior 1940.

  5. Spectators may purchase an official ballot for $5 to vote for a single duo. There are no judges for this event; the audience picks the winner.

  6. Limit is 10 pairings for this contest.

  7. The winning pairing will receive 50% of the money paid for ballots and will have their entry fee refunded ($25.00). The piano contest will retain 50% for its operating account.

  8. Entries will be accepted up until the start of this event if not all ten (10) spots are filled, and the contest may adjust the schedule to allow more entries if warranted.

  9. Entries for the Duet Contest may be sent via U.S. Mail to the Contest Coordinator, Faye Ballard, 108 E Garwood, Champaign, IL 61820. She will also answer rule and contestant questions at this address: eballard@illinois.edu. On­line entries will be instantly processed through Paypal and assure registration. Mailed entries are subject to delays, and no entry will be considered official until the appropriate fee is received, with checks made out to the University of Mississippi­ - May Piano Contest.

  10. Entries made on­line or by mail need only name the two piano players on the entry form and not reveal their musical selection, which will be played on one or two pianos­­ without other instrumental or vocal accompaniment.

Cutting Contest

  1. Up to twenty (20) entrants will compete in this event judged entirely by the audience. This event will begin on Sunday, May 29, 2016, at 10:15 a.m. Ragtime and popular music written before 1940 may be played with a time limit of five (5) minutes per selection.

  2. Each entrant will pay $25 to have their name in a drawing that will pair players randomly for the first round in this event. This entry fee is not refundable unless the contest is canceled.

  3. Each pair will be called to announce their tunes and play, and the audience will determine which contestant best demonstrated originality, virtuosity, contrast and improvisation in their selection and should continue to the second round.

  4. The first round will continue until not more than ten (10) players remain.

  5. Names of the advancing contestants will be drawn for up to five (5) pairings who will compete in the second round, with the audience selecting the winner in each pairing. Following additional playoff rounds, the last unbeaten contestant is declared the winner.

  6. In any round with an odd number of players, the first name drawn will receive a pass to play in that round and the remaining contestants will compete in pairs, with the audience selecting the winner as before.

  7. Entries for the Cutting Contest may be sent via U.S. Mail to the Contest Coordinator, Faye Ballard, 108 E Garwood, Champaign, IL 61820. She will also answer contestant questions at this e­mail address: eballard@illinois.edu. On­line entries will be instantly processed through Paypal and assure registration. Mailed entries are subject to delays, and no entry will be considered official until the appropriate fee is received, with checks made out to the University of Mississippi­ - May Piano Contest.

  8. Entries made on­line or by mail must only name the piano player on the entry form and need not reveal any musical selections they might play.

  9. The winner will receive $100 and a trophy­­, plus 50% of the total entry fees collected for this event from other contestants. The piano contest will retain the remainder for its operating account.

Oxford, Mississippi
May 26–30, 2016

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