The Best of 1910 Music: Instrumental

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


We’re taking a look back at some of the best instrumental music from 1910. From ragtime to classical, there was a lot of great music made over 100 years ago.

The Birth of Ragtime

Most music historians agree that the first decade of the 20th century was when Ragtime was “born”. Prior to this time, there was a music known as “stride” piano, which was fast and featured a lot of improvisation. But what made Ragtime different was that it had a distinctive syncopated beat. This new sound quickly caught on and soon spread throughout the country.

What is Ragtime?

Ragtime is a kind of early jazz music that was popular in the 1910s. It’s usually played on piano, and has a bouncy, syncopated rhythm. Ragtime often uses “ragged” or “broken” chords, which means that the notes don’t line up evenly with the beat. This gives ragtime its characteristic “ragged” sound.

The Origins of Ragtime

Ragtime began as a kind of syncopated, improvised piano music that first became popular in African American communities in the late 1800s. It was usually played on solo piano but sometimes by small groups or even larger ensembles. By the early 1900s, it had become one of America’s most popular forms of music, transcending racial barriers and appealing to people of all backgrounds.

Ragtime’s popularity coincided with the birth of recorded music and the rise of the phonograph industry. Many ragtime tunes were first heard on 78rpm records, which could be played on inexpensive phonographs in homes across the country. The best-known ragtime composer was Scott Joplin, whose Maple Leaf Rag (1899) became one of the most popular pieces of music in America.

Ragtime fell out of fashion in the 1920s but experienced a revival in the 1970s thanks to interest from historians and nostalgic listeners. Today, ragtime is once again enjoyed by music lovers of all ages.

The Ragtime Craze

Instrumental music in 1910 was largely defined by the ragtime craze. Ragtime was a type of dance music that swept the nation, and everyone wanted to get in on the fun. The best ragtime songs were the ones that got people moving, and there were plenty of great ones to choose from. Here are some of the best instrumental songs from 1910.

The Spread of Ragtime

Instrumental ragtime found its way into the concert halls via phonograph rolls and piano rolls, which could be heard played on pianos, organs, and even band organs at carnivals and public parks. One of the first ragtime pieces to attain commercial success as a sheet music publication was “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin. It was published in 1902 and became an overnight sensation, quickly spreading from North America to Europe.

Other popular ragtime tunes included ” Maple Leaf Rag” (also by Scott Joplin), “The Grizzly Bear”, ” Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble”, and ” Louisiana Rag”. The popularity of these tunes can be attributed to theircatchy melodies, simple chord progressions, and tight rhythmical structures. While most people associate ragtime with the piano, it should be noted that many other instruments were used to perform this style of music, such as banjos, brass instruments, and even drums.

The craze for all things ragtime reached its peak around 1910, after which the style slowly began to decline in popularity. Nevertheless, the influence of ragtime can still be heard in many forms of popular music today.

Ragtime reached the height of its popularity in the early years of the 20th century. By 1912, there were thousands of piano ragtime pieces in print, and many popular songs and Quincyboard compositions had been published in ragtime. Thousands of phonograph records were being sold every month, and many piano rolls were being produced. Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag was one of the most popular pieces of music from this era. It was frequently played on the radio and was often used as background music in silent films.

Instruments such as the banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and guitar became increasingly popular during the Ragtime era. These instruments were often used to play ragtime music in informal settings such as parties and social gatherings. The popularity of Ragtime music began to decline in the 1920s, but its influence can still be heard in many genres of music today.

The Legacy of Ragtime

It would be hard to overestimate the importance of ragtime in the history of American music. Often described as America’s first original art form, ragtime was the essential building block of jazz and blues. It was also a precursor to rock and roll.

Ragtime Today

Although ragtime fell out of popularity in the 1920s, it has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years. Modern composers and performers have been drawn to its syncopated rhythms and catchy melodies, and many ragtime pieces have been adapted for use in movies, television shows, and commercials. Ragtime is also popular among historians and music lovers who enjoy its nostalgic sound.

The Influence of Ragtime

Ragtime was one of the most popular forms of music at the turn of the 20th century and its influence can still be felt today. The style originated in African American communities in the southern United States and was characterized by its syncopated, or “ragged,” rhythms.

Ragtime found its way into mainstream American culture in the early 1900s and quickly became a nationwide phenomenon. The popularity of ragtime coincided with a period of great social and economic change in the United States. Ragtime music reflected the energy and optimism of the times, and its popularity continued to grow throughout the 1910s.

By the 1920s, ragtime had begun to decline in popularity, but its influence on other genres was just beginning. Jazz, blues, and even country music would all be shaped by ragtime in the years to come. Today, ragtime is remembered as one of America’s first truly original musical styles.

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