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Difference between Ragtime and Stride

Difference between Ragtime and Stride

There is often confusion between the two styles of piano playing, ragtime and stride. Though both styles utilize similar techniques, they are two very different genres. This article will highlight the key differences between ragtime and stride piano playing.

What is Ragtime?

Ragtime is a musical genre that originated in African American communities in the late 19th century. Ragtime music is characterized by its syncopated, or “ragged,” rhythm. This musical style was popularized by Ragtime composers such as Scott Joplin, who wrote the well-known Ragtime piece “The Maple Leaf Rag.” Ragtime was later incorporated into Jazz and popular music, and its influence can still be heard in many contemporary genres. While Ragtime is no longer as popular as it once was, it remains an important part of American musical history.

What is Stride?

Stride music is a type of jazz piano that was popularized in the 1920s. It is characterized by a fast tempo and an energetic feel. Stride pianists often use a “walking bass” technique, in which they play new bass notes on every beat. This creates a sense of forward momentum, which is why Stride is sometimes known as “swing” or “driving” piano.

While Stride music is often associated with the Harlem Renaissance, it actually originated in the midwest. Pianist James P. Johnson was one of the first Stride musicians, and he helped to develop the style in the city of New York. Today, Stride remains an important part of jazz history, and its influence can be heard in many modern jazz styles.

Difference between Ragtime and Stride

Ragtime and Stride are two of the most popular genres of piano music. While they share some similarities, there are also several important differences between them. Ragtime is a syncopated style of music that was popular in the early 20th century. Stride, on the other hand, is a more recent style that emerged in the 1920s.

Ragtime is typically characterized by its use of Ragtime rhythms, while Stride is distinguished by its use of devices such as “broken octaves” and “walking bass.” As a result, Ragtime tends to be more complex and lighter in feel than Stride, which is often more driving and forceful. Ultimately, both Ragtime and Stride are highly enjoyable styles of piano music, and each has its own unique charms.


While the two styles share some similarities, there are key differences between ragtime and stride piano. If you’re interested in learning more about either style or in playing one of them yourself, be sure to check out the resources we’ve linked below. And if you want to hear both styles played by masters of each form, be sure to watch the videos we’ve included as well. We hope you enjoyed this exploration of two unique but related styles of jazz piano.

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