ragtime was as sophisticated as Stravinsky, Van Vechten asserted, blues singer Clara Smith as sublime an artist as any opera diva.
ragtime, blues, country, jazz, soul, and rock and roll were all pioneered or inspired by black artists.
But you can hear the blues in almost everything he played and sang, whether it be gospel, ragtime, marches, or nonsense songs.
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 ragtime classicnoun
Ahighly syncopated style of music, esp for the piano, having a heavily accented tempo and a melody consisting of many short rapid notes (1897+)