The Era of Ragtime by Peyton Bolling

Wheels Of a Dream: The Ragtime Era

Ragtime, a forerunner of Jazz music from 1895 to 1919. Ragtime is a genre of music that evolved within the states of Mississippi and Missouri during the last decades of the 19th century. This genre was influenced by song of minstrel-shows, black banjo styles and syncopated dance rhythms – the cakewalk. Ragtime found its expression from structured piano compositions. Some famous ragtime artists during this era were Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime”, Louis Chauvin, Thomas M. Turpin, the Father of St. Louis Ragtime, and Tony Jackson. Ragtime was considered a permanent and serious branch of classical music by Joplin. Scott Joplin composed hundred of pieces, sets of études and operas in the style of rags.

Ragtime existed for a long time way before it was known as the written form of ragtime. In the 1890s, ragtime emerged widely amongst the public eye. One of the main characteristics of Ragtime is its rhythmic effects of syncopation. This genre of music was created by African American musicians and was considered an un-notated music. It was performed in bars, saloons, and venues where black musicians could perform. The genre includes “coon songs” and cakewalks. A cakewalk was a dance competition that displayed “white behavior” and was performed by African American slaves. The winner was awarded with a cake. Coon songs presented stereotypical norms of African Americans. These were performed by white people in black face performances. 

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Ragtime | music. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Oct. 2019].

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