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Second edition cover of Maple Leaf Rag, one of the most famous rags

Ragtime – also spelled rag-time or rag time<ref name="Perlman and Previn">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> – is a musical genre that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1918.<ref name="Berlin">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Its cardinal trait is its syncopated, or "ragged", rhythm.<ref name="Berlin"/> The genre has its origins in the red light districts of African-American communities in St. Louis years before being published as popular sheet music for piano. Ernest Hogan (1865–1909) was a pioneer of ragtime music and the first to publish in the musical genre. He is also credited for coining the term ragtime. Ben Harney, a white Kentucky native has often been credited for introducing the music to the mainstream public. His ragtime compositions helped popularize the genre throughout America.<ref name="rb1">Blesh, Rudi. Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, Introduction to Scott Joplin Complete Piano Works, New York Public Library, 1981, p. xvii.</ref><ref>Brogan, Hugh. The Penguin History of the USA, 2nd Edition, 1999, ISBN 978-0-14-025255-2, p.415.</ref> Ragtime was also a modification of the march made popular by John Philip Sousa, with additional polyrhythms coming from African music.<ref name="rb2">Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, pp. xv–xvi.</ref> The ragtime composer Scott Joplin (ca. 1868–1917) became famous through the publication of the "Maple Leaf Rag" (1899) and a string of ragtime hits such as "The Entertainer" (1902), although he was later forgotten by all but a small, dedicated community of ragtime aficionados until the major ragtime revival in the early 1970s.<ref name="rb3">Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xiii</ref><ref name="rb4">Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xviii</ref> For at least 12 years after its publication, "Maple Leaf Rag" heavily influenced subsequent ragtime composers with its melody lines, harmonic progressions or metric patterns.<ref name="rb5">Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xxiii.</ref>

Ragtime fell out of favor as jazz claimed the public's imagination after 1917, but there have been numerous revivals since the music has been re-discovered. First in the early 1940s, many jazz bands began to include ragtime in their repertoire and put out ragtime recordings on 78 rpm records. A more significant revival occurred in the 1950s as a wider variety of ragtime styles of the past were made available on records, and new rags were composed, published, and recorded. In 1971 Joshua Rifkin brought out a compilation of Joplin's work which was nominated for a Grammy Award.<ref name="Past Winner Database">Past Winner Database, "1971 14th Grammy Awards." Accessed Feb. 19, 2007.</ref> In 1973 The New England Ragtime Ensemble (then a student group called The New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble) recorded The Red Back Book, a compilation of some of Joplin's rags in period orchestrations edited by conservatory president Gunther Schuller. This also won a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance of the year and was named Billboard's Top Classical Album of 1974. Subsequently, the motion picture The Sting (1973) brought ragtime to a wide audience with its soundtrack of Joplin tunes. The film's rendering of "The Entertainer", adapted and orchestrated by Marvin Hamlisch, was a Top 5 hit in 1974.

Ragtime – with Joplin's work at the forefront – has been cited as an American equivalent of the minuets of Mozart, the mazurkas of Chopin, or the waltzes of Brahms.<ref>Hitchcock, H. Wiley. "Stereo Review", 1971, p.84, cited in Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xiv.</ref> Ragtime also influenced classical composers including Erik Satie, Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky.<ref name="rb6">Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xiii.</ref><ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>


Ragtime sections
Intro  Historical context  Musical form  Styles of ragtime   American, pre-1940, ragtime composers   Influence on European composers  Ragtime revivals   Notes   References  Further reading  External links  

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