Skip to main content
Select Source:

Ragtime

RAGTIME

RAGTIME dominated American popular music style from the mid-1890s to about 1920. The word "ragtime" seems to have evolved from a compound term, "rag time" or "ragged time," describing the syncopated and percussive nature of the music. Ragtime's 1970s revival, boosted by the popularity of George Roy Hill's film The Sting (1973), whose soundtrack featured some of the most poignant and evocative of Scott Joplin's piano rags, put the piano at the center of popular perceptions of ragtime. Consequently, even some music historians have mistakenly privileged ragtime piano in assessing the genre. In fact, as Edward A. Berlin has argued, ragtime songs like "Mister Johnson Turn Me Loose" and "Under the Bamboo Tree" would probably have been cited by contemporaries as the most important ragtime compositions.

Ragtime's popularity crossed races, opening the way for the later appeal of blues and jazz and the prominence of African Americans as composers and performers of American popular music. Though black musicians and composers largely created ragtime, in its earlier years rag-time included songs with racially derogatory lyrics: "coon songs," in the terminology of the era used by both whites and blacks. Ironic and painful, this phenomenon also typifies the Jim Crow racial hierarchy of the new century.

Despite pockets of largely white resistance based on its identification with "Negro" music and its exciting rhythms, ragtime was adopted by both white and black Tin Pan Alley songwriters and classical composers, so that its distinctive sound has become a kind of shorthand for turn-of-the-century culture and society, first in the United States and then in Europe. Ragtime found a home in nightclubs, marching bands, bourgeois parlors, and concert halls. It helped elevate both the piano and the banjo as popular instruments. Among prominent ragtime composers, arrangers, and popularizers are Scott Joplin, James Scott, James Reese Europe, John Philip Sousa, Irving Berlin, Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, and Jelly Roll Morton.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Badger, Reid. A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Berlin, Edward A. Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.

Hasse, John Edward. Ragtime: Its History, Composers, and Music. New York: Schirmer, 1985.

MinaCarson

See alsoMinstrel Shows ; Music: Popular .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ragtime." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ragtime." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime

"Ragtime." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

ragtime

ragtime. Early type of jazz, particularly for solo pf., and comp. rather than improvised. Famous exponent and composer of it was Scott Joplin. Popular from c.1895–1920, when other forms of jazz took over, but it had a revival in 1970s, when Joplin's mus. was used for the film The Sting. Stravinsky comp. Ragtime for 11 instr. (1918) and Piano-Rag Music (1919). A Rag is a ragtime comp. To rag is to play in ragtime.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"ragtime." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"ragtime." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime

"ragtime." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

ragtime

rag·time / ˈragˌtīm/ • n. music characterized by a syncopated melodic line and regularly accented accompaniment, evolved by black American musicians in the 1890s and played esp. on the piano.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"ragtime." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"ragtime." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime-1

"ragtime." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

ragtime

ragtime music characterized by a syncopated melodic line and regularly accented accompaniment, evolved by black American musicians in the 1890s and played especially on the piano; it is now seen as the immediate precursor of jazz.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"ragtime." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"ragtime." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime

"ragtime." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

ragtime

ragtime: see jazz.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"ragtime." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"ragtime." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ragtime

"ragtime." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ragtime

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

ragtime

ragtimebegrime, Chaim, chime, climb, clime, crime, dime, grime, half-time, I'm, lime, mime, mistime, part-time, prime, rhyme, rime, slime, sublime, thyme, time •paradigm • Mannheim • Waldheim •Sondheim • Trondheim •Guggenheim • Anaheim • Durkheim •quicklime • brooklime • birdlime •pantomime • ragtime • pastime •bedtime • airtime •daytime, playtime •teatime • mealtime • dreamtime •meantime • peacetime • springtime •anytime • maritime • flexitime •lifetime • nighttime • wartime •downtime • noontime • sometime •one-time • lunchtime • summertime •wintertime • enzyme

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"ragtime." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"ragtime." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime-0

"ragtime." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ragtime-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.