Ragtime Post: Two Different Duple Metre Music

by
Ayami Oe

The name “rag time” comes from “ragged-time.” The word “ragged” represents its syncopated rhythm. Many ragtime songs are double metre. We can find many duple metre songs in marching songs too. However, when we listen to these two types of songs, they sound different. It is because ragtime songs have syncopated rhythm. Marching band songs mainly come from western music, whereas syncopation rhythm come from African American music. This might be one of the reasons why ragtime was widely enjoyed by both caucasians and African Americans.  The other reason for such wide spread may be barber shops. When ragtime was popular, barbershops were places for socialization. Since people would listen to it when getting together at barbershops, this may have helped songs to spread even more.