100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Ragtime Song Recorded in New York

African music entered the American culture when the slave trade brought almost half a million Africans to the United States. Festivals at such places as Congo Square in New Orleans allowed slaves to perform their music and similar gatherings took place in New England and New York. As African-Americans became familiar with western music and instruments and were introduced to harmony through religious hymn, they mimicked what they heard through cakewalk dances and spirituals. White America also started absorbing African American music expressed through composers like Stephen Foster and through minstrels shows.

Where segregation limited employment opportunities for most African Americans, black musicians were able to provide entertainment in dance-halls, minstrel shows and in vaudeville. Black pianists played in bars, clubs, and brothels. By the 1890′s from this mix Ragtime with its “syncopation” developed. At first Ragtime was passed to white musicians who started making early sound recordings. Tom Turpin published his HARLEM RAG in 1899, the first rag published by an African-American. In 1899 a classically trained African American pianist Scott Joplin became the “King of Ragtime” with his international hit “MAPLE LEAF RAG”.White musicians like Ben Harney began to pick up on ragtime style and produce songs that popularized the music to white America.Mike Bernard was born in New York City, New York in March 1881. He was a child prodigy on piano and once played for the Kaiser. In 1900 Bernard heard Harney perform and decided to compete against him. He soon became known as one of the best ragtime performers in the country. He pioneered a style of music that appealed to the public but is often derided by purists as “pseudo-ragtime that was looked down upon by the admirers of the “genuine ragtime” that is played by African-American musicians.On December 2, 1912 Mike Bernard recorded “Everybody Two Step” written by Earl C Jones and Wallie Herzer on Columbia Records.
"Everybody Two Step" sheet music

“Everybody Two Step” sheet music

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