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Wright, Bryan S. (2016) THE RAGTIME PIANO REVIVAL IN AMERICA: ITS ORIGINS, INSTITUTIONS, AND COMMUNITY, 1940-2015. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Since the early 1940s, ragtime piano has been the focus of a musical revival community in the United States. Like many other music revival movements, what began as an effort by a dedicated few to revitalize and preserve a “vanishing” musical practice—in this case, one that had flourished from the mid-1890s to the mid-1910s—soon attracted ardent enthusiasts eager to collect, compose, and perform ragtime. They celebrated its historical roots while endeavoring to re-establish ragtime as a thriving tradition. This study, drawing on original archival research, interviews with ragtime community members, and the author’s twelve years as a participant-observer in the community, examines the origins and development of the American ragtime piano revival community.

Chapter 2 analyzes selected writings of the 1940s, in which the earliest revivalists sought to legitimize ragtime and forge an identity for the music distinct from jazz. Chapter 3 discusses three prominent ragtime serial publications that began in the 1960s (The RagTime Review, The Ragtimer, and The Rag Times), the people and organizations behind them, and the ways in which geographically disparate ragtime revivalists sought to organize their efforts, generating a core ragtime community while debating notions of authenticity in ragtime performance. Chapters 4 and 5 examine two prominent annual ragtime events—The Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival and the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest)—to discuss practices through which the ragtime community has maintained and expressed itself into the twenty-first century. The dissertation argues that as the revival community has established and maintained itself, it has witnessed a shift from product-oriented to process-oriented notions of authenticity, heralding the arrival of a “post-revival.”


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wright, Bryan S.bsw12@pitt.eduBSW12
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoot, Deane L.dlr@pitt.eduDLR
Committee MemberLewis, Mary S.lsm@pitt.eduLSM
Committee MemberWeintraub, Andrew N.anwein@pitt.eduANWEIN
Committee MemberRifkin,
Date: 15 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 December 2015
Approval Date: 15 June 2016
Submission Date: 13 April 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 323
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ragtime, revival, community, authenticity, revitalization, movement
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 22:22
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:32


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