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.

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