Though it was initially regarded as highly “disreputable”—its first appearances in urban settings being in saloons, casinos & brothels—ragtime gradually came to enjoy enormous popularity in the early 20th century. For a variety of reasons it has since become pretty thoroughly declassé, & that’s a real shame. It’s some of the most charming piano music I’ve ever heard. Some of the titles are very much “of their own time”, but they’re just handles; most of the titles don’t relate much to the music anyway.
The picture at left is undisputed king of ragtime Scott Joplin c. 1904, whose exhortation to pianists to take it easy with the tempo is seen at right. Most composers had similar designations: Moderato; Not Too Fast; Don’t Fake; & Tempo di Rag.
And yes, I got quite carried away: there are 83 pieces here, including marches, two-steps, ticklers, slow drags, cake walks & even a waltz or 2. I got so immersed in the rag sound I ended up writing one (not included here).