Ragtime is a musical form that synthesizes folk melodies and musical techniques into a brief quadrille-like structure, designed to be played— exactly as written—on the piano. A strong analogy exists between European composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams, Edvard Grieg, and Anton Dvorak who combined folk tunes and their own original materials in larger compositions and the pioneer ragtime composers in the United States. Composers like Scott Joplin and James Scott were in a sense collectors or musicologists, collecting dance and folk music in Black communities and consciously shaping it into brief suites or anthologies called piano rags.
It has sometimes been charged that ragtime is mechanical. For instance, Wilfred Mellers comments, "rags were transferred to the pianola roll and, even if not played by a machine, should be played like a machine, with meticulous precision." However, there is no reason to assume that ragtime is inherently mechanical simply because commercial manufacturers applied a mechanical recording method to ragtime, the only way to record pianos at that date. Ragtime's is not a mechanical precision, and it is not precision limited to the style of performance. It arises from ragtime's following a well-defined form and obeying simple rules within that form.
The classic formula for the piano rag disposes three to five themes in sixteen-bar strains, often organized with repeats. The rag opens with a bright, memorable strain or theme, followed by a similar theme, leading to a trio of marked lyrical character, with the structure concluded by a lyrical strain that parallels the rhythmic developments of the earlier themes. The aim of the structure is to rise from one theme to another in a stair-step manner, ending on a note of triumph or exhilaration. Typically, each strain is divided into two 8-bar segments that are essentially alike, so the rhythmic-melodic unit of ragtime is only eight bars of 2/4 measure. Therefore, themes must be brief with clear, sharp melodic figures. Not concerned with development of musical themes, the ragtime composer instead sets a theme down intact, in finished form, and links it to various related themes. Tension in ragtime compositions arises from a polarity between two basic ingredients: a continuous bass—called by jazz musicians a boom-chick bass— in the pianist's left hand, and its melodic, syncopated counterpart in the right hand. Ragtime remains distinct from jazz both as an instrumental style and as a genre. Ragtime style stresses a pattern of repeated rhythms, not the constant inventions and variations of jazz. As a genre, ragtime requires strict attention to structure, not inventiveness or virtuosity. It exists as a tradition, a set of conventions, a body of written scores, separate from the individual players associated with it. In this sense ragtime is more akin to folk music of the nineteenth century than to jazz.
Which of the following best describes the main purpose of the passage?
A.To contrast ragtime music and jazz
B.To acknowledge and counter significant adverse criticisms of ragtime music
C.To define ragtime music as an art form and describe its structural characteristics
D.To review the history of ragtime music and analyze ragtime's effect on listeners
E.To explore the similarities between ragtime music and certain European musical compositions 第二页继续...