2021 New Rag Contest
Saturday, May 29 @ 7 pm CDT
Watch the New Rag Contest HERE

Download Here   

ELIGIBILITY:  Contestants of any age are eligible to compete.

ENTRY FEEThe entry fee is $50 and is not refundable unless the contest is canceled 

TIME LIMIT: An eight-minute performance time limit applies from a tune’s start to finish.

PRIZE: Total prize money for the New Rag Contest is $1000, to be divided at the discretion of the judges.

PERFORMANCE: A competitor may play a composition themselves or designate another pianist to do so for them. Competitors who wish to request a pianist from the contest must submit their request, their application, and a complete, printed score by April 15, 2021. Submissions must follow the guidelines for video presentation as outlined below. Costumed or formal attire is suggested, but will not be judged and is not required.

SPECIFICATIONS: To qualify, the composition entered must be an original Rag, with three or more themes, that has not been previously published, recorded for sale, or previously played in this contest. *Composers are limited to one entry per year. [Exception: a second entry is permitted if the piece is co-composed.]

STYLE: The selection should adhere as close as possible to the authentic form, melody, rhythm and harmonic language of the ragtime era. Three to four sections are compulsory, each containing distinct contrasting themes.  New works should also contain familiar rhythmic features normally associated with ragtime such as syncopation and regularly accented accompaniment. Composers are permitted creative latitude with regard to melody and harmony while, at the same time, adhering to the historic definition of a “rag.”

JUDGING: The contest provides qualified judges familiar with the music and capable of judging the composer’s success in writing Ragtime music. Each composition will be judged on originality, musicality and audience appeal. Rags written in “folk rag” or “classic rag” styles will be judged equally alongside those written in more contemporary styles. A written score of the music is not required by the judges unless specifically requested from the Contest. Judging will take place in two stages. All entries will be heard by the judges in a preliminary round after which approximately 10-15 works will be selected for presentation in the live broadcast on May 29, 2021 at 7 p.m. CDT. Winners will be announced during that broadcast.

ENTRY DEADLINEMay 1, 2021 (for those performing their own compositions, or for those who have independently arranged for someone else to be performing their work).  April 15, 2021 (for those requesting a pianist from the organization to play their composition). *Each applicant must submit a short biographical sketch (150 words or less).

ENTRY SUBMISSION:  Titles and contact information should be entered on the online registration form located on the Contest website. Click on the link at the bottom of the form to submit your registration fee. Links to your video should be sent separately to the contest director at  Please use well-known online cloud services such as Google Drive or WeTransfer. Be sure your video submission is clearly labelled with your name so no mix-ups occur. You will be notified once your video has been received.  VIDEO SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Questions about the rules or repertoire selections? Contact the New Rag Contest Coordinator William McNally. On–line entries are strongly encouraged and will be instantly processed and assure registration. Mailed entries are subject to delays and no entry will be considered official until the appropriate fee is received. Any checks should be made out to “University of Mississippi – May Piano Contest.” Mailed entries should be sent to World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest, University of Mississippi Dept. of Music, PO Box 1848, University, MS 38677-1848.