Ragtime And Blues Analysis

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Ragtime and blues are the foundations of jazz. Both were initially very popular among African Americans as jazz came from an African background. The blues contain the musical structure of jazz with the 12 bar pattern, while ragtime supplies the unique syncopations and improvisations. The early musicians of blues and ragtime would eventually provide the transition necessary to move into jazz. …show more content…
It was considered to be a great contribution by African Americans. “the only real contributions of the Negro-American genius in the domain” (pg. 236, Jazz its Evolution and Essence). They are similar yet different as ragtime is not related to blues. The theme of blues is often expressed in jazz. Jazz takes from blues its violin theme in which the major chords are played in the third degree. “Melodically it contains no borrowing from the Blues except for a timid and no doubt involuntary during the exposition of the violin theme, where is some major – minor playing around with the third degree” (pg.256, Jazz its Evolution and Essence). Some blues notes can be seen in ragtime, but these notes are not expressive and played with other sounds that drags the music away from the essence of blues. “Some vague blue notes are scattered around in the principal melodic design of Piano Rag Music, but they are surrounded by a polytonal accompaniment that robs them of all resemblance to the Negro music.” (pg. 256, Jazz its Evolution and Essence). A big contributor to jazz was Louis Armstrong. One of his styles was shown in “Potato Head Blues” and “Skip the Gutter” shows in his stop choruses. The rhythm of these blues …show more content…
19, Jazz: A History). Ragtime was mostly based on the piano, which was the “principal instrument of ragtime” (pg.19, Jazz: A History). Ragtime came from the South. The instruments used to play ragtime, banjo, fiddle, fife, were instruments that were considered to be “prototypes brought to this country from Africa” (pg. 20, Jazz: A History). Ragtime music had a duple meter. It had a “functional diatonic harmony stressing tonic, dominant, subdominant, and applied dominants in a major tonality” (pg. 22, Jazz: A History). Its syncopations occurred on the second and fourth eighth notes with accented melody notes. Syncopation, an “interruption of the regular flow of rhythm”, was the “ chief characteristic” of ragtime melodies. Ragtime, when played on the piano, had a “stride style”, in which the “pianist’s left hand” was “called to ‘stride’ up and down” (pg. 23, Jazz: A History). Jelly Role Morton and James P. Johnson were well known for stride playing and are “viewed as transitional figures” from ragtime to jazz (pg.24, Jazz: A History). Tom Turpin, a musician who composed excellent music, composed rags that were in the ABA form, unlike the blues, which were usually in the AABA form. Scott Joplin, another ragtime musician, made a bigger contribution. His most famous work, “The Maple Leaf Rag”,

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