Ragtime Music

Topics: Jazz, Ragtime, Scott Joplin Pages: 4 (843 words) Published: May 21, 2012

What is Ragtime Music?

Ragtime was a relatively brief-lived musical form, its popularity lasting for about twenty years, but it was an essential link between earlier forms of “Negro music,” European (“classical”) music, and jazz.  It was defined at the time by its then-revolutionary use of syncopation, or it’s “ragged rhythm,” which refers to its rhythmically broken up melodies. Its rhythms made it lively and springy, and therefore ideal for dancing.

How/Why it started?

Ragtime originated from plantations with black slaves. Ragtime was created by black musicians combining African rhythms and European harmonies. It became popular as the emotions and ideas it expressed were meaningful to other ethnic origins. It was introduced through minstrel shows, syncopated (off-beat) dance rhythms and also elements of European music.

This type of jazz enjoyed its most significant fame from 1897 through 1918, influencing some of the best artists over the past century. Ragtime jazz was born in America's red-light districts. It began as dance music before being published as popular sheet music for piano. Cities such as New Orleans and St. Louis were enjoying these rhythms long before they were published into piano sheet music, from march tunes to dance numbers. For over a century, ragtime has remained one of the most memorable and influential types of jazz. It continues to be appreciated by composers and performers, as well as millions of fans.

Developmental Moments

-In 1895, black entertainer Ernest Hogan published two of the earliest sheet music rags, one of which sold a million copies. Hogan was the "first to put on paper the kind of rhythm that was being played by non-reading musicians.

-The emergence of mature ragtime is usually dated to 1897, the year in which several important early rags were published. In 1899, Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" was published, which became a great hit and demonstrated sophisticated style of...
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