What is Ragtime? – Classical music

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What is ragtime?

Ragtime started out as a genre of popular song and, just like later jazz, it is a hybrid of elements of European white music and American black music.

It took the solidly tonal walking idiom (made famous by composer John Philip Sousa) and animated it with modern syncopated rhythms.

Piano cloths by people like Scott joplin also draws inspiration from the salon music tradition of light classical music, a precursor being the work of American composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), whose piano music used elements from sources as diverse as Liszt and the dances of the slaves.

What is the structure of ragtime music?

Piano cloths were invariably molded into the sectional structure of the popular march, with each section repeated. Joplin’s Maple Leaf Cloth inserted a repeat of the first section halfway through the piece to give the AABBACCDD structure, which he also used in Pineapple cloth. Like the Sousa Steps, the last one or two sections often moved to a new tone.

What are the rhythms and textures of ragtime?

Above the “oom-pah” chord patterns in the pianist’s left hand (mimicking the beats of the bass drum and cymbals of a marching band), the right hand plays a syncopated melody. This style was popular in ancient minstrel shows and originated in slave songs with banjo accompaniment. This influence is heard in the arpeggiated chords of the right hand.

What is the harmonic language of ragtime?

Ragtime’s harmonic language was about 50 years old compared to the classical music of its day. But that, along with his new rhythmic style, helped him become very popular.

Who were the biggest stars in ragtime?

Scott Joplin has been nicknamed the “King of Ragtime” and is probably the most familiar name when it comes to ragtime. Jazz stars like Jelly Roll Morton, Eubie Blake, Fats Waller and even Broadway and Irving Berlin from Hollywood would write and record some of the most popular ragtime pieces. The title song of the Berlin musical Alexander’s ragtime band is one of the composer’s best known and recorded works.

What are the most famous pieces of ragtime music?


Joplin’s Maple Leaf Cloth, Pineapple cloth and Slow Drag Sunflower, not to mention The artist are some of the more familiar pieces of ragtime. He even wrote what some call a “ragtime opera”, Tremonisha. Eubie Blake Charleston cloth was a youthful work that gained in popularity, much like that of James Scott Frog leg cloth and Bohemian cloth.

Are there any recommended ragtime recordings?

The best of ragtime

Scott Joplin: Piano Rags – Alexandre Peskanov (piano)

Jelly Roll Morton: Doctor Jazz

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