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RAGTIME

Scott Joplin
The most famous and most influential of the Ragtime composers, to whose music America two-stepped, turkey-trotted, and cakewalked into the 20th century. More...

Ragtime is a piano style that developed and became popular between the Spanish-American War and World War I.  As a form, Ragtime followed the March, being written in 2/4 time and including a trio section.  Although it was syncopated like Jazz, it was unlike Jazz in that it was written, not improvised, music.

Ragtime became a craze through its popularization by Tin-Pan Alley.  A series of Pop rags was written, like "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1911) by Irving Berlin (b. 1888), and rag piano solos like "Nola" (1916), "Ragging the Scale" (1915), and "Bugle Call Rag" (1916).  The Original Dixieland Jazz Band introduced "Tiger Rag" in 1917. The first hit of George Gershwin (1898 - 1937) was a rag influenced song, "Swanee," sung by Al Jolsen (1886 - 1950) in the Broadway extravaganza Sinbad (1919).

A tour by John Philip Sousa (1854 - 1932) through Europe turned Ragtime into an international craze.  It also aroused the interest of Classical composers.  In 1918 - 1919, Stravinsky wrote "Ragtime" and "Piano Rag Music."  Debussy’s "Golliwogs’s Cakewalk" in Children's Corner employed Ragtime rhythms and syncopation. Arnold Shaw - American Dictionary of Pop / Rock


1900s  / 1910s  / 1920s / 1930s / 1940s
1950s / 1960s  / 1970s  / 1980s  / 1990s

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