- Edward A. Berlin
A style of popular music, chiefly American, that flourished from about 1896 to 1918. Its main identifying trait is its ragged or syncopated rhythm. While today it is most commonly thought of as a piano style, during the ragtime period the term also referred to other instrumental music, to vocal music and to dance. The best instrumental ragtime pieces manifested sophisticated musical thought and demanded considerable technical facility of a performer for their fullest realization. Ragtime songs, on the other hand, were generally less concerned with musical values, designed as they were to reach a large and undiscriminating audience....