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What makes a ragtime song a ragtime song? Which are the key and defining elements of ragtime? What differentiates it from other music from the era?

  • what do you think of Jacob's answer? – Bebs Jan 4 '17 at 11:40
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The defining characteristic of ragtime music is a specific type of syncopation in which melodic accents occur between metrical beats. This results in a melody that seems to be avoiding some metrical beats of the accompaniment by emphasizing notes that either anticipate or follow the beat ("a rhythmic base of metric affirmation, and a melody of metric denial" -Wikipedia

Basically, it's just a specific form of syncopation where accents do not fall on a beat.

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