The Role Of Ragtime In American Popular Music

Amazing Essays
Through various periods, such as Baroque, Classical, and Romantic Era, classical music has been developed grandly in Europe. Compared to Europe, American music history is short; however, if Europe is where classical music is born and blossomed, America is where popular music has developed in earnest. In the twentieth century, the United States has developed unique genres that could not be found in Europe. This special genre is the jazz that is still playing an important role in American popular music, and is loved and constantly performed worldwide. Today’s jazz has undergone a lot of change. Some kinds are completely different from jazz about 100 years ago. After going through the process of disappearing and repeating of various musical styles, …show more content…
Ragtime is a combination of European classical elements and American jazz elements. While jazz has improvised elements, ragtime is played with the musical score like classical music. However, ragtime is an indispensable musical style in the formation of jazz. King of ragtime Scott Joplin was a black composer whose name and ragtime had been forgotten for some time. In the movie The Sting, Scott Joplin’s ragtime The Entertainer was picked as the theme song, and Joplin’s ragtime came to light again. The life of a representative composer of ragtime Scott Joplin shows how he played a significant role in the development of ragtime. Furthermore, by analyzing the background, the development process, and the characteristics of ragtime in various aspects, such as structure, rhythm, and harmony, the musical and historical value of ragtime can be …show more content…
American’s public interest in ragtime, which was created by black heritage, is perceived as a great shock because white American middle class was dominant at that time. At first, ragtime was not welcomed by American high society. However, it became internationally famous after Sousa’s band gained fame in Europe. At the end of the nineteenth century, ragtime is found in the performance of honky-tonk pianists near the Mississippi River, also influenced by the black banjo music and cakewalk rhythms. In addition, origin of ragtime is also found in British popular dance, jig rhythms, and marching songs in the sixteenth century. Ragtime composer Scott Joplin played his work just as it is on the music score and considered his music as the American classical music close to the pieces of Mozart or Chopin. Joplin’s classical ragtime is a reminiscent of Chopin’s song because it is beautiful not only structurally, but also melodically. For instance, Joplin’s Stoptime Rag has a rhythm of soft foot tapping, which makes audiences to move their bodies to the rhythm. Furthermore, the reason why ragtime could develop during the beginning of the twentieth century is because ragtime was enjoyed by white American. Some people question why white Americans listen to black music when there was segregation. There is a claim that asserts black society put great effort to enter white society through music, or white

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