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  1. Introduction
  2. Ragtime and early jazz
  3. Ragtime's most striking characteristic
  4. The improvisational genre and Joplin
  5. Ragtime's influence on early jazz
  6. Subdividion of Ragtime
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

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.[2] 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. [...]

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