What is Ragtime?
Ragtime is a syncopated, polyrhythmic style of American music that is popular in solo and ensemble performances.
Ragtime originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a result of influences from European music on African-American folk songs. This type of music became known as “American music” because it was played by black musicians and written by white composers. Ragtime also created an international following, as it met with success in Europe as well as America.
Some of the most famous ragtime artists are Scott Joplin, James P. Johnson and Eubie Blake. These pioneers were able to improvise freely on the melodies they heard, but they also composed their own pieces with original melodies or based on themes such as New Orleans jazz or folk music.
The ragtime genre reached its apogee from 1905 to 1917, then continued its appeal well into the 1940s. Although ragtime peaked around 1917, there was a resurgence of interest thanks to musicians like Scott Joplin and jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton, who helped popularize the genre with their compositions and performances.
The history of ragtime
Ragtime was the first American musical genre to combine African-American music, including blues and dance music, with European classical music. Ragtime was born at the end of the 19th century and enjoyed more than one period of popularity.
Originally a form of piano jazz, ragtime has been revived several times. It is generally characterized by syncopated rhythms and “jagged” melodies. The story of Ragtime begins with the announcement by Scott Joplin, an American composer and pianist, of his new musical piece entitled “Maple Leaf Rag”. The song was an immediate success, and within a year became the most widely published musical score in history.
Where does the name “ragtime” come from?
Ragtime can be described as syncopated, meaning that it has the regular rhythmic pattern interrupted by an unexpected note or beat.
The name ragtime comes from the use of rags, or old clothes, to strike the piano keys to produce sound effects. The name also comes from a form of jubilee singing called “ragging”, which were songs sung while dancing for religious ceremonies before slaves were emancipated after the Civil War.
Characteristics of ragtime music
Ragtime is a musical genre that combines syncopated African rhythms with a Western tonality. The term refers to the “jagged” rhythm of early 20th-century dance music, usually played by piano trio composers/pianists. Let me give you an introduction to some of the most important characteristics of ragtime music.
- It has a strong syncopated rhythm (syncopation is like putting notes at irregular intervals).
- There are many ostinato patterns (a repeated pattern in which all the parts keep repeating the same note or chord, usually simultaneously).
- Ragtime songs were intended for dancing, so there are often heavy accents on beats 2 and 4, or 2 and 3.
- Ragtime was popularized in the late 1800s with Scott.
Famous Ragtime composers
Ragtime composers helped popularize the piano and create an exciting, innovative new sound.
Scott Joplin: Scott Joplin is considered one of the most important ragtime composers of all time. He was the first person to publish ragtime compositions. His style is characterized by “rag” (a fast, syncopated melody) and “rubato” (a slow, syncopated rhythm).
James Scott: James Scott was a pianist, composer and bandleader best known for his compositions “Everybody Loves My Baby” and “The Continental”. The latter became one of Irving Berlin’s most famous hits.
Jelly Roll Morton came from a family of New Orleans musicians. His first big hit was Les Cascades in 1915, which he composed with his partner Bob Fuller. The duo went on to publish many more pieces together and individually.
James P. Johnson has been recognized as one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz piano, and is credited with popularizing ragtime music for his keyboard performances in Harlem Renaissance clubs in the early 1900s.
Ragtime in popular culture
We can trace the influence of the era on the music by looking at Ragtime in popular culture. Ragtime was born in New Orleans around 1899 and is a combination of African-American folk music, European brass band marches and European folk songs. This style of jazz was very popular in the early 20th century. Many famous musicians played or composed ragtime compositions, including Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.
Conclusion: the cultural impact of ragtime in the early 20th century
In conclusion, ragtime was an important part of American musical history.
Ragtime is a style of music that was important in the early 20th century. This syncopated, infectious genre was influenced and inspired by many other musical genres and styles such as jazz, blues and rock and roll.
They have a rich history that is still celebrated today. We hope you’ve learned something from this article and can share it with others too.