Ragtime & Stride
By Dr. Mark Birnbaum
Stride piano (from New York City's Harlem) - a special brand of ragtime -
coincides with the jazz age. James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Willie "The Lion"
Smith were "the big three". Although steeped in ragtime, stride pianists
considered themselves jazz artists; they put a new twist on ragtime piano.
Not only is there syncopation between both hands, but also a counter melody
played by a flexible bass line; sometimes there is syncopation with the left
hand itself. Gone is the march-like "oompahoompah"
in the left hand (a la Scott Joplin) and onto the swingy, blues oriented jazz of