“It’s Never Right to Play Ragtime Fast!”

Ernest Hogan was the first composer to have his ragtime pieces published as sheet music , and is considered to be the individual to have coined the term “ragtime.”

Beginning in the southern-most parts of the Midwest, particularly St. Louis, ragtime emerged as a rhythm of broken melodies in the early 20th century. The emergence of ragtime appeared before sound recordings and were often only publicized and spread through sheet music and piano rolls. The composer Scott Joplin’s famous publication of the Maple Leaf Rag in 1899 influenced later ragtime composers as his work consisted of harmonic progressions and melody.  [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc[/embedyt]

Ragtime is said to be the first official American style of music, with its incorporation of European classical music and the African displacement of beats within a rhythm. Contrary to the incorporation of both forms of music, African-American Author James Weldon Johnson believed that the demand of “patting of the feet” and other physical responses to ragtime music created a forum for whites to “do their best to pass as colored.”

The Influence of ragtime was widespread as people of all cultures across the United States danced and listened to the genre.  Within ragtime pieces the use  “stop-time” became popular, which was when the rhythmic pattern of a piece of  music seems to pause for a few bars before resuming. This pattern soon became popular within jazz and blues music. As genres such as the blues rose to popularity ragtime music became to slowly dissolve. However, later into the 20th century, video games such as “The Super Mario Brothers” revived ragtime music and incorporated it within the game’s arrangement of music.

I believe that ragtime music became a culturally uniting form of music that created a sense of joy and excitement within America during its most dark and segregated days.


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