Ragtime, while an obvious precursor of jazz, is a written [ie. composed] music rather than an improvised form of music. Despite sharing the syncopated base that was an essential element in later jazz, ragtime was performed as written and had a strict form (usually with an “A” section followed by a “B” section and then a return to the “A” section – or some variation of this) and was often played by military or brass bands. During it’s peak period (before 1920) most ragtime recordings are by orchestras or bands or are vocal recordings of ragtime songs. Ragtime recordings can frequently (but not always) be identified by the use of the word rag or ragtime in the title.