Ragtime is a music genre that originated in the United States in the late 19th century. It is characterized by its syncopated rhythms and its use of a steady bass note in the left hand of the piano. Some music historians consider ragtime to be an early form of jazz, while others argue that it is a distinct genre of music altogether.
There are several similarities between ragtime and jazz. Both genres originated in the United States, and both make use of syncopated rhythms. Jazz, however, typically features improvisation and a greater emphasis on melody, while ragtime is more structured and focused on the piano. Additionally, ragtime was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while jazz became popular in the early 20th century.
Despite these similarities, ragtime and jazz are considered by many to be distinct genres of music. According to the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, "ragtime and jazz are two separate styles, and although there is some overlap, they should not be confused." Similarly, musicologist Gunther Schuller argues that "ragtime is not jazz; it is a unique and individual phenomenon."
One reason for this distinction is that ragtime was primarily a written form of music, while jazz was an improvisational form. Ragtime compositions were typically written down and played as written, while jazz musicians often improvised on a basic melody or chord progression. Additionally, ragtime was heavily influenced by classical music, while jazz was influenced by a variety of musical traditions, including blues and African rhythms.
In conclusion, while there are some similarities between ragtime and jazz, most music historians consider them to be distinct genres of music. Ragtime was an early form of American music that featured syncopated rhythms and a focus on the piano, while jazz evolved from a variety of musical traditions and emphasized improvisation and melody.