Classical Music/Influences on Proto-Ragtime
Could you give me some examples of pre-1895 compositions or composers that had a big influence on the then-emerging genre of ragtime whether they be marches or whatever other genre, please? Thank you.
This is a bit out of my area, as you are talking about popular music. Many people have observed the formal connections between Sousa's marches and much ragtime. By that, I mean the pattern of phrases, phrase-lengths, repeats, progression of sections, relation among sections, key changes (most notably, typically ending with a section in a key different from the opening, say, down a fifth). I do not know of music preceding ragtime that anticipates its stylistic features, though I would be surprised if there were nothing written about that -- either locating stylistic sources or declaring it new. I can only suggest that you search in databases of scholarly journals, like JSTOR. You can get access to that at many public libraries, most particularly at college/university libraries. Libraries also have excellent staff who could help by pointing you in the right direction.
Another place to start would be articles in Groves on Joplin and on ragtime. These would have good bibliographies to further your search in the directions you might wish to go. If you don't know of or have access to Groves (in print and online), again help and access may be found in good libraries.
Good luck. Interesting question!