Ragtime- An Upbeat and Joyful Style


The genre of Ragtime gained popularity between 1896 to 1920, with the increase use of sheet music.

During slavery, upper-class white often plantation owners made their slaves dance, with that the best couple of slaves who performed the best got a prize usually a cake. The music they danced to was Ragtime, they often had to act like they were happy and joyful while dancing to the upbeat music. Coon songs also used the tunes of ragtime, except Whites appeared in black face and danced around in ways that slaves were made to on plantations in minstrel shows. Ragtime  includes an up beat, often moderate to fast tempo; including the use of a piano. Socially ragtime made more of an appearance when artists like Scott Joplin, James Scott and Joseph Lamb popularized the music and wrote written compositions that were specialized for the piano.  However, there were questions as to whether written and published composers exploited African Americans originators , which was probably true as we before have lacked recognition and benefits of our creations before. Ragtime helped set the stage for classical music as it too has a major element of the piano in its songs.

Scott Joplin- Weeping Willow Video


I enjoy ragtime, the upbeat and fast tempos are what keep it appealing, however I’m unfortunately hesitant with the genre because of the ways it was used within minstrel shows and cake walks on plantations.


Alexa Johnson

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