Ragtime

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Definition

A style of dance music which became popular at the end of the 19th century and which helped to influence jazz.

It features a strongly syncopated melody (meaning the notes don’t always fall on the beat) against a steady, simple accompaniment played as a vamp, often played on piano, e.g. Scott Joplin rags.

Examples


The 'Maple Leaf Rag' uses arpeggios and syncopation.


Ragtime is not exclusively played on the piano.


See a ragtime piano duet here.


This video summarises key elements of the music whilst playing a ragtime excerpt in the background.

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