Ragtime was also called the ‘Coon Song’ lasted from the years 1896-1920 was created in Mississippi & Missouri.
A ragtime composition is usually composed three or four contrasting sections or strains, each one being 16 or 32 measures in length. Coon songs and cakewalks — the latter especially composed for dancing. The cakewalk was made up of slave couples who would dance for the masters at their houses. The dance was originated by slaves to mock masters and the winning slaves would get cake as a reward. 

Ragtime directly influenced jazz, originated from work songs that had added embellishments. Ragtime is a genre that uses a special technique making it sound the way that it does: the piano player plays the easier part with their left hand, while the syncopation/ “the swag” is played with the right hand. Other possible instruments used in Ragtime include the banjo and the guitar.

Rapid popularity helped with national distribution of sheet music. By the early 1900s ragtime flooded the music publishing industry. The popularity and demand for ragtime also boosted sale of pianos and greatly swelled the ranks of the recording industry.


 During ragtime race records began to be released. Black men were a threat to the white men so to oppress and surprises them, during shows black men would have to dress up as the clown to perform on the same stage as the whites.

Top Ragtime Artist

Scott Joplin is considered to be The King of Ragtime.He is a composer and pianist. He published the most successful : “The Maple Leaf Rag” he composed hundreds of short pieces. Other notable people are Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton and James P. Johnson.

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