Difference Between Ragtime and Blues

Topics: Jazz, Blues, Ragtime Pages: 2 (1203 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Ragtime and blues are the foundations of jazz. Both were initially very popular among African Americans as jazz came from an African background. The blues contain the musical structure of jazz with the 12 bar pattern, while ragtime supplies the unique syncopations and improvisations. The early musicians of blues and ragtime would eventually provide the transition necessary to move into jazz. Blues contained the four-note structure, which is also the building block of jazz music. “Further the principal motif of the composition is typical of the blues. This four note figure seems to be particularly prized by composers ‘inspired’ by jazz” (pg. 254, Jazz its Evolution and Essence). Ragtime and blues were both similar in that they both came from African American backgrounds. According to Jazz its Evolution and Essence, ragtime is “the only” genre “in which the ‘influence’ of Negro American music can be detected” (pg. 255, Jazz its Evolution and Essence). It was considered to be a great contribution by African Americans. “the only real contributions of the Negro-American genius in the domain” (pg. 236, Jazz its Evolution and Essence). They are similar yet different as ragtime is not related to blues. The theme of blues is often expressed in jazz. Jazz takes from blues its violin theme in which the major chords are played in the third degree. “Melodically it contains no borrowing from the Blues except for a timid and no doubt involuntary during the exposition of the violin theme, where is some major – minor playing around with the third degree” (pg.256, Jazz its Evolution and Essence). Some blues notes can be seen in ragtime, but these notes are not expressive and played with other sounds that drags the music away from the essence of blues. “Some vague blue notes are scattered around in the principal melodic design of Piano Rag Music, but they are surrounded by a polytonal accompaniment that robs them of all resemblance to the Negro music.” (pg. 256, Jazz its...
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