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scott joplin

Scott Joplin is a well know ragtime composer and his music is an obvious reflection of that. The music he composed always seemed to be light with repeated patterns and emphasized off-beats. These characteristics are defining of ragtime. Ragtime originated in New Orleans, also known as the birth place of Jazz. It is a unique blend of European classical styles combined with African American harmony and rhythm. “Rag” is usually known as a piano oriented style that is written down. Being written, Ragtime songs can be performed over and over and remain the same throughout time. However, since it was written down, it did not involve much improvisation, causing people to dispute it as being a pure jazz style. It also lacked the “swing feeling” to its songs. Although it might not be considered strict jazz, it has still set the foundations for jazz as we know it. One of ragtime’s main contributions is the presence of off-beats, also know as syncopation. This involves the accenting of before and after beats off the main beat of the song. It helps to provide “rag” with the lively light foot type of feeling. This feature provided a psuedo swing feeling to the songs. Also ragtime contained an extensive repetition of brief patterns. Musicians use ostinato to describe this characteristic. This is an obvious characteristic in Scott Joplin’s composition. It helps to add to the swing feeling and keep a common theme in the song. This characteristic came from accompaniment rhythms in folk music and march music. Another feature of ragtime is the polyrhythm. This is the practice of sounding different rhythms at the same time. It helps to provide a rhythmic excitement and a catchy hook for listeners of ragtime. “The Entertainer” carries all these features in it, which helps to make it a Ragtime classic. It contains many brief repetitions. It is obvious throughout the song as...

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