U.S. popular music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries distinguished by its heavily syncopated rhythm. Ragtime found its characteristic expression in formally structured piano compositions, the accented left-hand beat opposed in the right hand by a fast, bouncing melody that gave the music its powerful forward impetus. (The term probably derives from ragged time, a description of syncopation.) Ragtime compositions typically featured three or four discrete 16-bar strains performed at a moderate tempo. The most celebrated ragtime composer was Scott Joplin. The rhythm and structure of ragtime were important influences on the development of jazz.