Ragtime is an American syncopated musical phenomenon that has been a strong presence in musical composition and entertainment. Ragtime started in the mid-1890s and flooded the music industry by the 1900s. Ragtime started in the south and the west coast most of the activity occurred within Missouri. Ragtime’s popularity spread to Europe. The popularity and demand for ragtime also boosted sale of pianos and greatly swelled the ranks of the recording industry. The first exposure of ragtime in America happened in Chicago at the world fair in 1893.In 1896 “rag” and “rag time” were used to describe several newly published “coon songs,” complete with outrageous parodies of black culture and speech. Ragtime was everywhere by the early 1900s. It appeared in sheet music, piano rolls, phonograph records, and ragtime piano playing contests, as well as in music boxes, vaudeville theaters, and bordellos. Publishing houses churned out piano rags and ragtime songs at a furious pace. Ragtime also appeared in arrangements for orchestras and wind bands. The majority of this music was the popular sort of ragtime that was cranked out mostly by Tin Pan Alley hacks.


Ragtime is a genre of musical composition for the piano. It is generally in duple meter and contains a high syncopated treble lead over a rhythmically steady bass. Ragtime compositions are usually composed of three or four contrasting sections or strains. Each section or strain is 16 to 32 measures in length.

Social Implication

Ragtime represented a different style of music which led to future genres. It was the opening door for new music to become born. It wasn’t seen as sacred music but seen as syncopation and difference. It opened up the door for musicians and artists to see the birth of a new venture into music. It allowed artist to become free and not stick to one type of music.

Important Performers

Scott Joplin was a ragtime pianist entertainer and he is one of the most important ragtime composers of the period

Influence of Future Genres

Ragtime had a huge influence on future genres such as rock ‘n’ roll, heavy metal, jazz, and other popular genres of music. Ragtime opened up the door of curiosity and devotion of the young at the same time it disquiets the staid and devotion of the young at the same time. Ragtime created an attitude and defined an era that reached beyond the music.”


Ragtime was created by African Americans. African Americans were taken advantage of when it came to ragtime. They were unaware of how to write sheet music because they were not exposed to learning how to write sheet music. White people tried to take advantage of black folks with ragtime by trying to sell ragtime sheet music which was called “Maple Leaf Rag” this was composed by Scott Joplin.


Conclusory Opinion

Ragtime can be thought of as a classical to me. Although Jazz is branched off of ragtime hearing music that was from ragtime really interested me because modernize music such as hip pop does not resemble this. It is interesting to see how music has changed a lot since back then. Ragtime’s syncopation gave it originality and distinction from other genres of music.


Alesha Minott

Alesha Minott

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