Ragtime Essay

357 Words2 Pages
How did ragtime music advance the causes of African Americans and in what ways did it have a negative effect? The Ragtime music craze was from 1896 – 1918. African American music was acceptable to white musicians. Ragtime music composed by African Americans was advanced through white musicians. “In some regards the ragtime craze was a descendent of minstrelsy.” (Starr & Waterman, 2010) The simplified elements taken from African American musical styles were beneficial to the white musicians. They were inserted into their music to make it livelier. Through the racial barriers during this time, ragtime style of music began to make black songwriters more noticed and accepted. Ragtime music definitely helped advanced the causes of African Americans. Negative effects also came with advances. The majority of the songs used language that insinuated African American’s were poorly educated. These songs were referred to as “coon songs”. “Coon songs, regarded as comic by white audiences, helped to promulgate the stereotypes established in the minstrel show during the worst period of racism in American history.” (Starr & Waterman, 2010) These songs had offensive lyrics that were very degrading to blacks. Is there evidence of social attitudes in the musical sounds, and if so where? The ragtime craze had songs with degrading lyrics. Some songs belittled white women as well as blacks. I am sure that we can all agree that sometimes music can produce emotion to the listener. Alternative Rock is a good example. El Nino and Breaking Benjamin come to mind. There is a lot of loud guitar and yelling in some of their songs. When asked about their music they have been quoted saying, “We are expressing ourselves through our music.” When it comes to lyrics, there is one song out today that has a very catchy beat that I really like a lot that is getting a lot of buzz. This
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