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Questions:

1. What are the musical characteristics of classic ragtime? Ragtime music is heavily
syncopated and instrumental. The bass line (usually played by the left hand) follows
rhythms that land on strong downbeats while the treble (usually played by the right hand)
performs more complex, syncopated rhythms. Originally ragtime music was composed
primarily for the piano but eventually made its mark in instrumental composition as well.
Because of its rhythmic complexities ragtime music is not written or performed for the
voice.
2. Who are regarded as the three most influential ragtime composers? 1. Joseph Lamb 2.
Scott Joplin 3. James Scott
3. Many jazz history texts say that Scott Joplin was born on November 24, 1868 in
Texarkana, Texas. Other scholars dispute this. Why? (This question will require some
research. I'd suggest that the Internet might be a good place to start.) Please include a
reference to your source(s). Much of Scott Joplins life remains undocumented.
According to Edward A. Berlin, the reason his birthplace is often disputed is because
Texarkana was not established until 1873. Testimony of a family friend has Scott born in
Marshall, Texas, some 70 miles south from what was to become Texarkana
(http://www.edwardaberlin.com/scott_joplin__brief_biographical_sketch_33423.htm)
4. Shipton describes two principal characteristics of ragtime which were absorbed into
jazz. Briefly describe them in your own words. 1. Ragtime followed a complex but
simple form. It was not uncommon for a ragtime piece to be made up of four sections.
Ragtime style usually followed an AABBACCD format that featured a bridge or
connecting piece and a thematic modulation in the C section. 2. The bass line in
ragtime music emphasizes the first and third beat while the melody line undertakes
complicated and syncopated musical ideas.
5. What is the significance of the early blues records of Okeh Records? Okehs discs
were the first attempt by any record company to reflect the mainstream of black musical
entertainment.
6. Shipton posits that jazz and the blues developed in parallel without either genre
swamping or overtaking the other. How was this possible? Jazz was predominantly
instrumental music, and blues was predominantly vocal. The only time they crossed paths
with each other was when one art accompanied the other.
7. What is the significance to jazz history of the classic blues singers (like Ma Rainey,
Bessie Smith, etc.)? Their work became the principal meeting ground between what was
going on in jazz and blues.


8. Briefly describe some contributions that brass bands made to early jazz. Because of
their durability, brass instruments are ideal for playing outside. After the civil war was
over, there were many brass instruments available. Many of these instruments were
implemented into early jazz. Unskilled musicians learned how to play them and by
indirect means employed their own unique styles and attitudes into their playing. Brass
bands delivered a supply of musicians and afforded them opportunities to be heard.
9. What was T.O.B.A. and what is its significance to jazz history? It was part of the
vaudeville circuit for African American performers in the 1920s and 1930s. The theaters
mostly had white owners and collaborated in booking jazz, blues, comedians, and other
performers for black audiences