Ragtime is an American musical genre that was most popular during the first twenty years of the 20th century. It is a dance form that is written in 2/4 or 4/4 time, where there is a walking bass that plays legato on beats 1-3 and staccato chords played on 2-4 beats in the right hand. A big portion of ragtime is written in classical (Sonata) form. This type of structure includes four themes, where the last theme is altered. Ragtime is known to have a syncopated feel and is written so that off-beats get accented.
[...] The rhythms present in the banjo playing appear as the fundamental influence for ragtime rhythms. Comparison of a minstrel banjo tune by Dan Emmett, Nigger on de Wood Pile, and Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag shows matching rhythmic ideas. Ragtime music had its roots in the minstrel performances, but it developed its own flavor; while important to the creation of jazz, ragtime is separate style. Ragtime is fundamentally different than jazz in many ways. As opposed to jazz music, ragtime is music printed for piano and not improvised. [...]
[...] Though Scott Joplin's music is the most famous ragtime music, there are holes in what we know about his life. He was born in November of 1868, but the birthplace is not known with full certainty. Most believe that he was born in east Texas. Joplin's syncopated musical style found expression in the popular idiom of piano Ragtime, a style that was popularized along the Mississippi river in the last decade of the nineteenth century and which was a prominent piano style until the end of WWI. [...]
[...] The Missouri style of Ragtime was called Classic Rag and this is perhaps the most well-known. It was made famous by Tom Turpin and Scott Joplin. Beginning in 1913, Foxtrot was rhythmically similar to Ragtime except that it had a dotted-note rhythm. Novelty piano followed and this style began after WWI. In this style, the technical aspects of the music was brought out. Stride piano, also originating post-WWI, was created by black, east cost pianists. Bibliography Kingman, Daniel. American Music. [...]
[...] Some historians say that the influence of ragtime came from European classical music and African American music of the day. By the nineteen-teens, the music was widely popular in North America. Not only was it performed, but it was also danced to, and performed by people of different backgrounds, in different sub-styles. For instance, Scott Joplin's ragtime music was markedly different from Bowman's. Early piano ragtime pieces, prior to Scott Joplin, were called ‘jigs' or ‘rags'. The Maple Leaf Rag was probably the most famous of rag of the day of Joplin, and has not lost its popularity among ragtime music. [...]
[...] The start of the second decade marked ragtime as a nationwide craze. Ragtime's most striking characteristic was its use of right-hand syncopated phrases. Most common were sixteenth note runs that stopped on a syncopated beat. The left hand was used as a support, with virtually no syncopation. James Scott was noted for his left hand syncopation, yet it was still carefully placed so as to not interfere with the standard ragtime impetus. The rhythmic phrasing of a typical rag was never any more complicated. [...]
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