The Ragtime And The Blues

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Both ragtime and the blues were essential and influential in their contributions to the development of jazz. Together, they served as the primary predecessors to the later, more complicated genre. Key elements from each brand are incorporated and mixed to create jazz. Without the creative geniuses of ragtime such as Scott Jopin and James Reese Europe and Blues propagators W.C. Hady and Robert Johnson, the distinctive genre of jazz would not have emerged. Ragtime and blues are both unique in their respective styles and means of development, yet they also share some similarities despite their clearly outlined differences. Jasen and Tichenor argue that although ragtime “constitutes a concrete musical idiom… its distinguishing musical characteristics were lost upon its early promoters and contemporary listening audience, and… remain muddled to this day” (1). However, there are key elements of ragtime that make it unique and recognizable. Ragtime is a sound that is played—typically on the piano—in “ragged time,” or in other words, syncopation—a rhythmic technique in which emphasis is placed on notes that are played off the beat (Haskins 36). Another element of ragtime is its association with dance; ragtime music would play and references would be made to “‘ragging’ being a style of dancing” (Berlin 13). Ragtime developed through a combination of influences such as the call-and-response pattern of slave and Negro work songs (Haskins 37) and the tenacious ensembles of American

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