An American style of music characterized by "ragged" or syncopated rhythms. It was popular between the 1890's and the 1910's. Scott Joplin was a major exponent of ragtime. By the 1920's ragtime had given way to jazz.a style of music that emerged in 1890's America. A forerunner of jazz, typified by piano playing with evenly syncopated march-like rhythms. noted ragtime composers include Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake and Jelly Roll Morton.