The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #65553   Message #1083378
Posted By: Billy Weeks
31-Dec-03 - 03:33 PM
Thread Name: What makes a tune a Rag?
Subject: RE: What makes a tune a Rag?
Tracking back to MTed and Q's comments on early references to 'rag' in a musical context, I have a collection of minstrel songs published by Turner and Fisher in NY and Philadelphia in the mid 1840s in which the term occurs. The song is 'Black Pink - or Love on the Canal Street Plan'. Verse 8 begins:

'I don't care for dat black man at all
I was induced to him at de rag ball'.

I accept that this is dubious evidence of 'rag' being applied to an emerging musical form but it doessuggest that the word was in use in a music/dance context some decades before the accepted 'earliest' references.

Blesh and Janis, 'They All Played Ragtime', 1958, the first serious study of the subject, doesn't shed much light on this question.