Top 50 Songs
Ragtime music was a largely piano-based form of music which reached its widest widest popularity between the mid-1890s and World War I. Its primary characteristic is, according to OxfordMusicOnline.com, “its ragged – i.e., syncopated rhythm.” OM This was, as ParlorSongs.com says, “usually in 2/4 time, over a regular, march tempo bass line.” PS The genre is significant as a predecessor to jazz.
16 lists were aggregated together (see sources at the bottom of the page). All songs appearing on 2+ lists were then sorted by overall DMDB points. The top 50 songs were then sorted by the most points on the ragtime lists. As to how the songs are listed – first up are the songwriters, followed by the title of the song and the year the song was introduced. When relevant, the performer(s) with the highest-ranked version of the song are listed in italics.
Ragtime purists will quibble with songs such as “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” that don’t adhere to strict definitions. I offer no apologies for such inclusions, as this list is meant to celebrate those tunes which introduced and shaped the craft as well as those which popularized the genre by integrating elements of ragtime.
Note: click here to see other genre-specific song lists.
“The Entertainer,” as performed by Marvin Hamlisch in the 1973 movie ‘The Sting’
1. Scott Joplin “Maple Leaf Rag” (1899): Vess Ossman, 1907)
11. Scott Joplin “Elite Syncopations” (1902)
21. Ben R. Harney “Mister Johnson, Turn Me Loose” (1896)
31. Theodore Havermeyer Northrup “The Louisiana Rag” (1897)
41. Cecil Macklin “Tres Moutarde (Too Much Mustard)” (1911): Victor Military Band, 1911
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First posted 4/16/2021.