Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Lindsay Vickery


Ragtime music is a style of popular music established in America that came to prominence between the years of 1896 and 1918. It is believed to have its roots in Blackface minstrel shows, it's defining feature, the heavily syncopated rhythm, quickly becoming a stereotype of African-American music. This thesis will explore the multi-generational influence of American Ragtime music on the art-music world through the works of Charles Ives (1874-1954), William Walton (1902-1983), and William Bolcom (1938-). It will timeline the undulating influence of Ragtime music on these subsequent generations of composers, noting in particular the revivals of the 1940's and late 1960 - 1970's. This thesis will investigate the change and progression of Ragtime music's associated meanings and their implications on the work of succeeding generations of composers, centering discussion on the issues of racism, cultural hegemony, and the stylistic bias underpinning both the segregation and amalgamation of 'popular' and 'serious' music. Examining one piece from the oeuvre of each composer listed, this thesis will discuss issues pertaining to both the ideology of Ragtime music, and the technical employment of its stylistic conventions.