Ragtime



[rag-tahym] /ˈrægˌtaɪm/

noun, Music.
1.
rhythm in which the accompaniment is strict two-four time and the melody, with improvised embellishments, is in steady syncopation.
2.
a style of American music having this rhythm, popular from about 1890 to 1915.
[rag-tahym] /ˈrægˌtaɪm/
noun
1.
a novel (1975) by E. L. Doctorow.
/ˈræɡˌtaɪm/
noun
1.
a style of jazz piano music, developed by Scott Joplin around 1900, having a two-four rhythm base and a syncopated melody
n.

also rag-time, “syncopated, jazzy piano music,” 1897, perhaps from rag “dance ball” (1895, American English dialect), or a shortening of ragged, in reference to the syncopated melody. Rag (n.) “ragtime dance tune” is from 1899.

If rag-time was called tempo di raga or rague-temps it might win honor more speedily. … What the derivation of the word is[,] I have not the faintest idea. The negroes call their clog-dancing “ragging” and the dance a “rag.” [Rupert Hughes, Boston “Musical Record,” April 1900]

Conceive the futility of trying to reduce the intangible ragness to a strict system of misbegotten grace notes and untimely rests! In attempting to perfect, and simplify, art is destroying the unhampered spirit in which consists the whole beauty of rag-time music. The very essence of rag-time is that it shall lack all art, depending for the spirit to be infused more upon the performer than upon the composer himself. [“Yale Literary Magazine,” June, 1899]

Her first “rag-time” was “The Bully,” in which she made great sport by bringing a little coloured boy on the stage with her. Miss [May] Irwin says the way to learn to sing “rag-time” is to catch a negro and study him. [Lewis C. Strang, “Famous Actresses of the Day in America,” Boston, 1899]

A style of early jazz music written largely for the piano in the early twentieth century, characterized by jaunty rhythms and a whimsical mood.

Note: Scott Joplin was a famous composer and performer of ragtime.

modifier

: a ragtime classic

noun

Ahighly syncopated style of music, esp for the piano, having a heavily accented tempo and a melody consisting of many short rapid notes (1897+)

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