By: Nia Simone Weeks


Ragtime was a syncopated musical phenomenon which has had  a strong presence in music for more than a century. It emerged in its published form during the mid-1890s and quickly spread across the continent via published compositions. By the early 1900s ragtime flooded the music publishing industry. Its popularity and demand also boosted sells of pianos and it had a strong presence in the recording industry. It seemed to come primarily from the southern and midwestern states with the majority of activity occurring in Missouri. Ragtime’s popularity promptly spread to Europe and there, as in America, soon became a fad. Ragtime is usually in duple meter and it contained a highly syncopated treble lead over a rhythmically steady bass. The easier part is usually played with the left hand and the syncopation is usually played by the right hand. It also is usually composed of three or four contrasting sections or strains. Ragtime eventually played out when Jazz became popular.

Important Artists in Ragtime

  • Eubie Blake
  • Scott Joplin
  • James Scott
  • John William Boone

Ragtime Music

Instruments Used in Ragtime


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