Yet, ragtime was so good, it was irresistible. Only snobs and
prudes from high society disliked it, as it came from a mixed "black" and
"white" background. In short, the rhythm is black (African), the harmony/melody
is white (European), and the result is American.
One man is chiefly responsible for ragtime's popularity and survival: Scott
Joplin (1868-1917). He codified it, wrote it down, made
it into an art form.
It is amazing this controversial music became popular so quickly - it has never
been easy to play. Ragtime is a solo piano affair. The left hand provides the
basic rhythm and harmony, the right hand sings the melody (which has its own
rhythm). Yet, it was easy to listen to; it still is.