The Barrelhouse piano came to existance in the U. S. in the late 19th century. At that time, Blues musicians transposed their music from guitar to piano. The name refers to the cheap bars, where the liquor was served directly from barrels, and where this music was mostly played: the barrel houses.

Barrelhouse piano is strongly influenced by Blues rather than by Ragtime, which inherits more European elements. Barrelhouse music sounds more basic, rougher and less polished than Ragtime. One of the last icons of the Barrelhouse piano, as it was played in New Orleans over 100 years ago, was Champion Jack Dupree. He was one of the stars of the first Hamburg Boogie Woogie Connection at the Fabrik on 8-8-88.