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Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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known as Stmnee River) have the same simple harmonic struc­ture as the early ragtime and jazz pieces.
It must be borne in mind that none of the contrasting areas in which these jazz antecedents grew-religious and secular. North and South, folk and urban, even white and Negro-de­veloped in a complete vacuum. There was considerable mutual encroachment, as a result of which it is impossible to determine the exact point where any one form originated or was fused with another. This is true also of the nomenclature of various jazz forms such as ragtime, blues, Dixieland and New Orleans. Even ragtime, once firmly established as a pre-jazz piano style, later became a diffuse term applied to orchestral forms.
Ragtime, an energetic precursor of the music that is played today by exponents of a commercialized style generally called "honky tonk piano," grew up in the 1890s with Sedalia, Missouri as its unofficial headquarters. According to some historians the first and greatest of the ragtime pianists was a pale-skinned, slight youngster whose features were more Indian and Spanish than Negro: Louis Chauvin, who died at 28, leaving no testa­ment but three published compositions and the memory of con­temporaries who recalled the exquisite originality and beauty of his work. Chauvin, like many of the ragtime men, was from St* Louis, the home for many years of Tom Turpin, whose Harlem Rag (1897) is credited by Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis as the first published Negro rag.7 A story in Jazz Magazine in 1942 con­jectured that many of Chauvin's ideas may have been incorpo­rated in the Original Rags published under that title in 1899 by Scott Joplin, who as the writer of Maple Leaf Rag (published in Sedalia in 1899) was the best known of the ragtime composers.
Writing of Sedalia's role as the birthplace of ragtime, Blesh and Janis point out that the town treated its Negroes with more enlightened fairness than was then customary, that good school­ing and good jobs were plentiful, but that "it was not the re­spectable Sedalia that supported the beginnings of what was to become the classic ragtime: East Main Street, with its honky-tonks, clubs and bawdy houses, was the patron of syncopated music. . . ."
In Sedalia and throughout the United States, both Negro and