The Age of Ragtime

Ragtime is a propulsively syncopated musical style that was the predominant style of American popular music from about 1899-1920. It was influenced by minstrel-show songs, African American banjo styles, and syncopated (off-beat) dance rhythms of the cakewalk. Scott Joplin, called the “King of Ragtime,” published the most successful of rags, “The Maple Leaf Rag,” in 1899. Joplin, who considered ragtime a permanent and serious branch of classical music, composed hundreds of short pieces, a set of études, and operas in the styles. Other important performers were Louis Chauvin, Thomas M. Turpin, and Tony Jackson. Though ragtime’s limelight was relatively short-lived, the music influenced the later development of jazz. 

More Terms:

  • Instrumental ragtime
  • Vocal ragtime
  • Coon Songs
  • Cakewalk

Music from Scott Joplin:

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