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  Ragtime was a style of music popular in the US from the 1890s to 1920s, and a precursor of jazz. Its name is a contraction of ‘ragged time’, and refers to the contrast between a regular, unvarying pulse in the accompaniment (usually left hand of piano) and the syncopations (anticipations and delays of the beat) in the melody (usually right hand of piano). The best-known ragtime composer was the American Scott Joplin (who in the 1910s even wrote a ragtime opera), and the best-known ragtime piece not by him is Irving Berlin\'s song ‘Alexander\'s Ragtime Band’, which became a jazz standard. Bohuslav Martinu, Ravel, Stravinsky and other ‘serious’ composers in the 1920s were attracted by the jerky perkiness of ragtime, and used it as a component of neoclassical pieces of their own. KMcL  



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