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It's Ragtime!

Ragtime music was music for the people, by the people. It was widely accessible through sheet music, and was played in many Black households from 1896 – 1920. Ragtime music was also performed in cake walks, which  allowed enslaved people to mock of slave masters without punishment. The masters would be judges, and the dance would be determined by type of cake. The cake awarded to winners of the cake walk. In addition to the glee it added to Black homes, ragtime was used to provide a soundtrack for minstrel performances. These performances made caricatures out of Black people, recreating typically Black features on white faces, and often portraying Black people as buffons.

  • Upbeat
  • Sheet music
  • Typically piano and/or banjo
  • Right hand syncopation, left hand, regular beat

Click below to hear Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag"

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