Ragtime lasted from the years 1896-1920. Post slavery black musicians could only play in bars and brothels, therefore ragtime became popularized there. The basis of creating a ragtime song was a syncopation, which is a temporary disruption in the regular rhythm of a song.

Ragtime soon became another means for white people to embarrass and discredit black artists. Along with Ragtime came the appearance of Minstrel shows which displayed white artists in black face and acting like exaggerated black stereotypes. Even black men were forced to were black face in order to star in these shows as a form of humiliation. Rag time also consists of cakewalks that were performed by black couples who were imitating wealthy white people. The best slave would win cake as a price from their master. 

Popular Instruments: Ragtime interments include primarily the piano, flute, clarinet, bass drum, and violins. 

Legacy: From ragtime came jazz, and from ragtime bands came the jubilee quartets. 


Famous Ragtime Artists

Scot Joplin

Known for his infamous maple leaf rag, Joplin was dubbed the king of ragtime. He was the first ragtime artist to have their work published, and he set the precedent for other record labels to tap into ragtime artists.

Eubie Blake

Blake was an African American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime music. He alongside Noble Sissie wrote the broadway musical directed by African Americans. 

George Johnson

Also known by his song ‘the whistling coon’, George Johnson was a famous ragtime artists.  His infamous song was riddled with racist remarks that even related a black man to a baboon.

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