Ragtime by xiaoyounan


The Ragtime Craze: 1896–1918
Ragtime Music
   Emerged in the 1880s
   Its popularity peaked in the decade after the turn
    of the century.
   Ragtime initially was a piano music but gradually
    came to identify any syncopated music.
   The term ―ragtime‖ was used to describe any music
    that contained syncopation.
Ragtime Music
   The word derives from the African American term ―to
    rag,‖ meaning to enliven a piece of music by shifting
    accents to the offbeats (a technique known as
   It began as an obscure folk-dance music up and down
    the Mississippi valley beginning about 1875.
   Ragtime energized popular music in America by
    adding rhythmic vitality (syncopation) to the music.
The Banjo
   A stringed instrument developed by slave musicians
    from African prototypes during the early colonial
   The basic patterns of ragtime music were
    transferred from the banjo.
   Also influenced by Latin American rhythms such as
    the Cuban habanera
   Marching band music contributed the regular ―oom-
    pah‖ bass common in ragtime pieces.
Ragtime Songs
   Coon song
     Popular among white audiences from the 1890s until
      World War I
     Usually accompanied by a simplified version of the
      syncopated rhythms of ragtime piano music
―All Coons Look Alike to Me‖
   The first piece of sheet music to bear the term ―rag‖
   Composed by the African American songwriter
    Ernest Hogan
   Published (complete with racist caricatures on the
    cover) in 1896
March Songs
   Ragtime-influenced songs that were less
    derogatory in content than coon songs
   Owed less to the style developed by Joplin and
    other black pianists
   George M. Cohan (1878–1942), author of
    ―You’re a Grand Old Flag‖ (1907)
Ragtime Songs
   Popularity suggests a continuation of the white
    fascination with African American music first evinced
    in minstrelsy.
   Most popular ragtime songs were vigorous march-
    style songs with a few ―irregular‖ rhythms added
    for effect.
Scott Joplin (1868–1917)
   The most famous ragtime composer of the era
   Best known for his piano rags
   Born in Texas
   Began to play piano around the town of Texarkana
    during his teens and received instruction in classical
    music theory from a German teacher
   His first regular job as a pianist was in a cafe in St.
Scott Joplin (1868–1917)
   Developed a ―ragging‖ piano style, improvising
    around the themes of popular songs and marches in
    a syncopated style
   Between 1895 and 1915, Joplin composed many of
    the classics of the ragtime repertoire
   Helped popularize the style through his piano
    arrangements, published as sheet music
Scott Joplin (1868–1917)
   Joplin’s rags were also widely heard on player
   Player pianos were elaborate mechanical devices
    activated by piano rolls—spools of paper with
    punched holes that controlled the movement of the
    piano’s keys.
―Maple Leaf Rag‖ (1898)
   Scott Joplin’s first successful piece
   Named after the Maple Leaf social club in Sedalia,
    where he often played
   The piece was published in 1899 and became a
    huge hit, spreading Joplin’s fame to Europe and
   ―Maple Leaf‖ started a nationwide craze for
    syncopated music.
Listening: ―Maple Leaf Rag‖
   The form and style are typical of ―classic‖ ragtime.
   ―Maple Leaf‖ consists of a succession of four distinct themes:
       This type of form is common in marches.
   The rhythmic interest comes from the interplay of the two
Ferdinand ―Jelly Roll‖ Morton
   New Orleans jazz pianist
   Took Joplin’s composition and treated it as the basis
    for extended, rhythmically complex improvisations
   Ferdinand ―Jelly Roll‖ Morton’s version of ―Maple
    Leaf Rag‖ can be heard in The Smithsonian
    Collection of Classic Jazz
The Rise of the Phonograph
   Invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison and, at
    around the same time, by a French inventor named
    Charles Cros
   The energy from sound waves was transferred to a
    foil or wax cylinder, which could then be used to
    reproduce the original sounds.
Phonograph Discs
   Two companies dominated the American market in
    phonograph discs at the turn of the century:
     Columbia   Records (formed in 1887)
     Victor Talking Machine Company (1901)
Phonograph Discs
   1890s: The first nickelodeons—machines that
    played music hits for a nickel—were set up in public
   1902: Enrico Caruso recorded a series of Opera
    arias in London. Victor sold over two million dollars’
    worth of discs after his death in 1921.
   1902: Twelve-inch shellac discs were introduced.
   1920: The first three commercial radio stations in
    the U.S. were established (KDKA in Pittsburgh,
    WWJ in Detroit, and WJZ in Newark).
   1926: The first nationwide commercial radio
    network was established (National Broadcasting
    Company [NBC]).
   1927: There were over 1,000 radio stations in the
    United States.

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