Ragtime was a very influential part of the development of jazz. Ragtime became very popular in the late 1800’s. Ragtime’s distinct style set it apart from the other genres. Syncopation is what defines this art form. This is when the loud accents fall in between the beats. Anything that is syncopated is basically ragtime. One of the most important ragtime composers was Scott Joplin. Like all great artists, Joplin did not restrict himself to this favored art form. Both before the advent of ragtime and after, Joplin composed marches and waltzes, including the syncopated waltzes. There’s more to ragtime than syncopation, while some very good ragtime is not of the classic form. But the lines are often blurred. Ragtime’s influence on other musical genres dictates that part of the character of ragtime surface in those genres. The classical composers Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky, and Darius Milhaud were all intrigued by the opportunities that ragtime offered to express new musical ideas. Joplin himself wrote ragtime operas. As performers began to rag both melody and accompaniment, ragtime began its transformation into jazz. As classic ragtime was meant to be played as written, these artists also moved toward greater improvisation. Jelly Roll Morton recognized the coherence of ragtime but gave it more freedom, especially in the bass line. This resulted in what is known as ”stomp” piano. Charles “Cow-Cow” Davenport, who pioneered the Boogie-Woogie style, was trained in ragtime but recorded many blues pieces. James P. Johnson was instrumental in moving ragtime toward jazz and blues, creating Stride Piano. Other developments led to the ”trumpet-piano” style of Earl Hines and Teddy Weatherford and to the swing style of Duke Ellington. Some Historians consider ragtime to be the very first jazz style. Although it cannot actually be classified as jazz, ragtime is definitely a very influential part of jazz. In Louisiana at this time there was music everywhere. Ragtime bands and marching bands were joining together. Mexican bands were also and influence especially in the way the trumpets and horns were played. All this merging of different band sounds was important in the creation of jazz. Eventually the instruments used in marching bands crossed over into jazz instruments. The drums and clarinet filled in for the marching band instruments. New Orleans was such a melting pot for music and culture but it was also a party town. This party scene was also a part of how jazz was molded. The demand for fresh new music was high, which caused musicians to alter and elongate their styles. All the new creations and variations on the music in the end fused into jazz.
2. The blues first emerged as a distinct type of music in the late-1800s. Spirituals, work songs, seculars, field hollers and arhoolies all had some form of influence on the blues. Early blues were a curious mixture of African cross-rhythms and vocal techniques, Anglo-American melodies and thematic material from fables and folktales, and tales of personal experience on plantations and prison farms. After the war, blacks were still slaves to King Cotton, and many found themselves struggling to support themselves working on plantations well into the mid-twentieth century, or struggling to support themselves as sharecroppers or tenant farmers. The blues developed into a distinct form of folk music as a direct result of this. The emergence of the blues coincided with the worsening of the social and economic conditions for blacks in the South. The “country blues,” usually considered an earlier form of the genre, was actually recorded in the mid-1920s. There are several regional styles of country blues, including delta blues from the Mississippi Delta, Texas blues, and Piedmont blues from the Southeast. Country blues was usually recorded by a single male singer, self-accompanied on the guitar or piano, with perhaps an accompanying harmonica or simple percussion. Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Boy Fuller, and Robert Johnson were country blues musicians.
Beginning in the 1930s, blues musicians fell under the influence of urban culture, including popular music and jazz. Combos incorporating piano, guitar, and percussion developed, although the country, “downhome” origins of the musicians were still evident in the music. Major musicians of the 1930s included Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy, Little Brother Mongomery, Leon Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, Lonnie Johnson, and Memphis Minnie. After World War II, the use of electrified instruments became inevitable. During the 1940s, some blues bands even incorporated saxophones, although the preference was for amplified harmonicas, especially in Chicago, a predominant center of blues recording in the 1950s. Blues from this period is often called “urban blues,” “electric blues,” or simply “Chicago blues.” Important urban blues musicians included Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, T-Bone Walker, and B. B. King.
Rural blues was an early form of blues. It consisted of more simplistic instruments and tunes. Where as urban blues used different instruments and sounds and was a little classier than the chants from down on the plantation. Rural blues began as just solo singing as where urban blues was a singer accompanied by a band. Blues has changed over the years, whether its rural or urban anyone knows the blues when they hear it.