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Scott Joplin

Background information
Birth name Scott Joplin
Born c. 1867
Origin Texarkana, Texas, U.S.
Died April 1, 1917 (aged 49)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Ragtime, March, Waltz, and Song
Occupations Composer
musician, and pianist
Instruments Piano
Years active 1895–1917

Scott Joplin (between July 1867 and January 1868 – April 1, 1917) was an African American composer and pianist, born near Texarkana, Texas, into the first post-slavery generation. He achieved fame for his unique ragtime compositions, and was dubbed the "King of Ragtime." During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the Maple Leaf Rag, became ragtime's first and most influential hit, and remained so for a century.

He was "blessed with an amazing ability to improvise at the piano," writes opera historian Elise Kirk, and was able to enlarge his talent "with the music he heard around him," which was rich with the sounds of gospel hymns and spirituals, dance music, plantation songs, syncopated rhythms, blues, and choruses.[1]:190 After he studied music with several local teachers, his talent was noticed by a German immigrant music teacher, Julius Weiss, who chose to give the 11-year-old boy lessons free of charge. Joplin was taught music theory, keyboard technique, and an appreciation of various European music styles, such as folk and opera. As an adult, Joplin also studied at the George R. Smith College, a historically black college (HBCU), in Sedalia, Missouri.

"He composed music unlike any ever before written," according to Joplin biographer Edward Berlin.[2] Eventually, "the piano-playing public clamored for his music; newspapers and magazines proclaimed his genius; musicians examined his scores with open admiration."[3]:3 Ragtime historian Susan Curtis noted that "when Joplin syncopated his way into the hearts of millions of Americans at the turn of the century, he helped revolutionize American music and culture."[4]

Joplin's music was rediscovered and returned to popularity in the early 1970s with the release of a million-selling album of Joplin's rags recorded by Joshua Rifkin, followed by the Academy award–winning movie The Sting, which featured several of his compositions, such as The Entertainer. In 1976 Joplin was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize.[5]

Texas (c. 1867 – 1880s)

Scott Joplin, the second of six[6] children, was born in eastern Texas, outside of Texarkana,[7] to Giles Joplin and Florence Givins. Although for many years his birth date was accepted as November 24, 1868, research has revealed that this is almost certainly inaccurate – the most likely approximate date being the second half of 1867.[8] In addition to Scott, other children of Giles and Florence were Monroe, Robert, Rose, William, and Johnny.[9] His father was an ex-slave from North Carolina and his mother was a freeborn African American woman from Kentucky.[10] After moving to Texarkana a few years after Scott was born, Giles began working as a common laborer for the railroad. Florence did laundry and cleaning for additional income. Joplin was given a rudimentary musical education by his musical family; at the age of seven Scott was allowed to play piano in both a neighbor's house and at the home of an attorney while his mother worked.[3]:6

At some point in the early 1880s, Giles Joplin left the family for another woman, leaving Florence to provide her children through domestic work. Biographer Susan Curtis speculated that his mother's support of Joplin's musical education was an important causal factor in this separation; his father thought it diverted the boy away from practical employment which would have supplemented the family income.[11]:38 While his mother worked, Scott would often play her employer's piano when there was one in the house. According to a family friend, "the young Scott was serious, ambitious, and spoke of his intention to make something of himself." Joplin went to school and studied music under several local teachers, including a German immigrant called Julius Weiss who had a significant influence.[3]:7

Impressed by Joplin's talent, Weiss taught him for free, tutoring him in various forms of Classical music as well as folk and opera. In addition, he encouraged the young composer's aspirations and ambitions,[3]:7–8 even helping Joplin's mother acquire their first used piano from one of his clients who had bought a new one.[12] Weiss had studied music at a university in Germany and was listed in the town's records as "Professor of music." Joplin never forgot him, and years later after he became successful, sent him gifts of money from time to time, when Weiss was old and ill.[12]

Joplin played music at church gatherings and for non-religious entertainments such as African-American dances. Although it is likely he played well-known dances of the era, "waltzes, polkas, and schottisches", eye-witnesses recalled him playing his own compositions; "He did not have to play anybody else's music. He made up his own, and it was beautiful; he just got his music out of the air."[11]:38

Southern states and Chicago (1880s – 1894)

In the late 1880s, having performed at various local events as a teenager, Joplin chose to give up his only steady employment as a laborer with the railroad and left Texarkana to work as traveling musician.[13] He was soon to discover that there were few opportunities for black pianists, however; besides the church, brothels were one of the few options for obtaining steady work. Joplin played pre-ragtime 'jig-piano' in various red-light districts throughout the mid-South.[1] He also managed to fit in classes in composition and counterpoint at one of the nation's first all-black academic institutions, the George R. Smith College for Negroes in Sedalia, Missouri.[citation needed]

In 1893 Joplin made his way to Chicago to perform for the visitors to the World's Fair, although not as an official performer. Instead, like other black entertainers, he found work in the cafés that lined the fair and the city's seedy and corrupt[14] "Tenderloin" district. While in Chicago, he formed his first band and began arranging music for the group to perform. Although the World's Fair was "not congenial to African Americans," he still found that his music, as well as that of other black performers, was popular with visitors.[13]:443 By 1897 ragtime had become a national craze in American cities, and was described by the Dispatch News as "a veritable call of the wild, which mightily stirred the pulses of city bred people."[15]:36

Missouri (1894 – 1907)

Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri in 1894 and began working as a pianist in the Maple Leaf Club and the Black 400, social clubs for "respectable [black] gentlemen". (By 1900 the city was the fifth-largest in the state, with about 15,000 people.) He gained a reputation as a well-respected piano player, and began composing songs and teaching music.[15] One of his earliest works in 1896 was The Great Crush Collision March, a "special... early essay in ragtime",[16] written after a staged train crash in McLennan County, Texas, at which Joplin may have been present.[3]:27[17]

In 1899, Joplin married Belle, the sister-in-law of collaborator Scott Hayden and sold what would soon become one of his most famous pieces, Maple Leaf Rag, to John Stark & Son, a Sedalia music publisher. It was an immediate success and was ragtime's first hit, in addition to being the first great instrumental music hit in America. It sold 75,000 copies in about six months. It also served as a model for the hundreds of rags to come from future composers, especially in the development of classic ragtime.[18] After the publication of the Maple Leaf Rag, Joplin was soon being described as "King of rag time writers", not least by himself[19] on the covers of his own work, such as The Easy Winners and Elite Syncopations.

After the Joplins' move to St. Louis in early 1900, they had a baby daughter who died only a few months after birth. Joplin's relationship with his wife was difficult as she had no interest in music; they eventually separated and then divorced.[20] About this time, Joplin collaborated with Scott Hayden in the composition of four rags.[21]:88 It was in St. Louis that Joplin produced some of his best-known works, including The Entertainer, March Majestic, and the short theatrical work The Ragtime Dance.

In June 1904, Joplin married Freddie Alexander of Little Rock, Arkansas, the young woman to whom he had dedicated "The Chrysanthemum" (1904). She died on September 10, 1904 of complications resulting from a cold, ten weeks after their wedding.[22] Joplin's first work copyrighted after Freddie's death, Bethena (1905), was described by one biographer as "an enchantingly beautiful piece that is among the greatest of Ragtime Waltzes".[3]:149

During this time, Joplin created an opera company of 30 people and produced his first opera A Guest of Honor for a national tour. It is not certain how many productions were staged, or even if this was an all-black show or a racially-mixed production (which would have been unusual for 1903). During the tour, either in Springfield, Illinois, or Pittsburg, Kansas, someone associated with the company stole the box office receipts. Joplin could not meet the company’s payroll or pay for the company’s lodgings at a theatrical boarding house. It is believed the score for A Guest of Honor was lost and perhaps destroyed because of non-payment of the company's boarding house bill.[23]

Treemonisha (1911)

New York (1907–1917)

In 1907 Scott Joplin moved to New York City, which he believed was the best place to find a producer for a new opera. After his move to New York, Joplin met Lottie Stokes, whom he married in 1909.[21]:88 In 1911, unable to find a publisher, Joplin undertook the financial burden of publishing Treemonisha himself in piano-vocal format. In 1915, as a last ditch effort to see it performed, he invited a small audience to hear it at a rehearsal hall in Harlem. Poorly staged and with only Joplin on piano accompaniment, it was "a miserable failure," the public being not yet ready for "crude" black musical forms, so different from the style of European grand opera of that time, irrespective of its "excellent craftsmanship."[1] The audience, including potential backers, was indifferent and walked out.[20] Scott writes that "after a disastrous single performance ... Joplin suffered a breakdown. He was bankrupt, discouraged, and worn out." He concludes that few American artists of his generation faced such obstacles: "Treemonisha went unnoticed and unreviewed, largely because Joplin had abandoned commercial music in favor of art music, a field closed to African Americans."[15]:37 In fact, it was not until the 1970s that the opera received a full theatrical staging.

"Wall Street Rag" published 1909

In 1914, Joplin and Lottie self-published his Magnetic Rag. using the name the "Scott Joplin Music Company" which had been formed the previous December.[3]:226, 230 Biographer Vera Brodsky Lawrence speculates that Joplin was aware of his advancing deterioration due to syphilis and was "consciously racing against time." She noted that he "plunged feverishly into the task of orchestrating his opera, day and night, with his friend Sam Patterson standing by to copy out the parts, page by page, as each page of the full score was completed.[24]

By 1916, Joplin was suffering from tertiary syphilis and a resulting "descent into madness."[3][25] In January 1917, he was admitted to Manhattan State Hospital, a mental institution.[19] He died there on April 1, 1917 of dementia.[1]:191[15]


Third edition cover of "Maple Leaf Rag", Joplin's breakthrough hit

The combination of classical music, the musical atmosphere present around Texakana (including work songs, gospel hymns, spirituals and dance music) and Joplin's natural ability has been cited as contributing significantly to the invention of a new style which blended both African-American musical styles with European forms and melodies, and which first became celebrated in the 1890s; ragtime.[11]:38

When Joplin was learning the piano, serious musical circles condemned ragtime because of its association with the vulgar and inane songs "cranked out by the tune-smiths of Tin Pan Alley."[11]:37 As a composer Joplin refined ragtime, elevating it above the low and unrefined form played by the "wandering honky-tonk pianists... playing mere dance music" of popular imagination.[26] This new art form, the Classic rag, combined Afro-American folk music's syncopation and nineteenth-century European romanticism, with its harmonic schemes and its march-like tempos.[21][27] In the words of one critic,"Ragtime was basically... an Afro-American version of the polka, or its analog, the Sousa-style march."[28] With this as a foundation, Joplin intended his compositions to be played exactly as he wrote them – without improvisation.[15] The classically-influenced rags that he wrote have been favourably compared to those of his contemporaries; "...more tuneful, contrapuntal, infectious, and harmonically colorful than any others of his era."[1]

It has been speculated that Joplin's achievements were influenced by his classically trained German music teacher Julius Weiss, who may have brought a Polka rhythmic sensibility from the old country to the 11-year old.[29] As Curtis put it "The educated German could open up the door to a world of learning and music of which young Joplin was largely unaware."[11]:37

Joplin's first, and most significant hit the Maple Leaf Rag was described as the "archetype" of the classic rag, influencing subsequent rag composers for at least 12 years after its initial publication thanks to its rhythmic patterns, melody lines, and harmony,[18] although with the exception of Joseph Lamb they generally failed to enlarge upon it.[10]



The opera's setting is a former slave community in an isolated forest near Joplin's childhood town Texarkana in September 1884. The plot centers on an 18 year old woman Treemonisha who is taught to read by a white woman, and then leads her community against the influence of conjurers who prey on ignorance and superstition. Treemonisha is abducted and is about to be thrown into a wasps' nest when her friend Remus rescues her. The community realizes the value of education and the liability of their ignorance before choosing her as their teacher and leader.[3]:203[30]

Joplin wrote both the score and the libretto for the opera, which largely follows the form of European opera with many conventional arias, ensembles and choruses. In addition the themes of superstition and mysticism which are evident in Treemonisha are common in the operatic tradition, and certain aspects of the plot echo devices in the work of the German composer Richard Wagner (of which Joplin was aware); a sacred tree under which Treemonisha is found recalls the tree from which Siegmund takes his enchanted sword in Die Walküre, and the retelling of the heroine's origins echos aspects of the opera Siegfried. In addition, African-American folk tales also influence the story, with the Wasps' nest incident being similar to parts of the story Br'er Rabbit and the briar patch.[3]:203–204

Treemonisha is not a ragtime opera because Joplin employed the styles of ragtime and other black music sparingly, using them to convey "racial character", and to celebrate the music of his childhood at the end of the 19th Century. The opera has been seen as a valuable record of rural black music from 1870s-1890s re-created by a "skilled and sensitive participant".[3]:202, 204.

Berlin speculates about parallels between the plot and Joplin's own life. He notes that Lottie Joplin (the composer's third wife) saw a connection between the character Treemonisha's wish to lead her people out of ignorance, and a similar desire in the composer. In addition, it has been speculated that Treemonisha represents Freddie Joplin's second wife, because the date of the opera's setting was likely to have been the month of her birth.[3]:207–208

At the time of the opera's publication in 1911, the American Musician and Art Journal praised it as "an entirely new form of operatic art"[3]:202. Later critics have also praised the opera as occupying a special place in American history, with its heroine "a startlingly early voice for modern civil rights causes, notably the importance of education and knowledge to African American advancement."[1] Christensen's conclusion is similar: "In the end, Treemonisha offered a celebration of literacy, learning, hard work, and community solidarity as the best formula for advancing the race."[13]:444. Berlin describes it as a "fine opera, certainly more interesting than most operas then being written in the United States", but then states that Joplin's own libretto showed the composer "was not a competent dramatist" with the book not up to the same quality as the music.[3]:202–203

Performance skills

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Joplin's skills as a pianist were described in glowing terms by a Sedalia newspaper in 1898, and fellow ragtime composers Arthur Marshall and Joe Jordan both said that he played the instrument well.[32] However, the son of publisher John Stark stated that Joplin was a rather mediocre pianist and that he composed on paper, rather than at the piano. Artie Matthews recalled the "delight" the St. Louis players took in outplaying Joplin.[33]

While Joplin never made an audio recording, he did use the early piano roll for use on mechanical player pianos, for which he made seven rolls in 1916. Berlin theorizes that by the time Joplin reached St. Louis he may have been manifesting symptoms of syphilis, such as discoordination of his fingers.[3]:104 The disease took his life in 1917. The second piano-roll recording of Maple Leaf Rag from June 1916 was described as "... shocking... disorganized and completely distressing to hear."[34] However, there is disagreement among piano-roll experts about the accuracy of the reproduction of a player's performance.[35][36][37][38]


Joplin and his fellow ragtime composers rejuvenated American popular music, fostering an appreciation for African American music among European Americans by creating exhilarating and liberating dance tunes, changing American musical taste. "Its syncopation and rhythmic drive gave it a vitality and freshness attractive to young urban audiences indifferent to Victorian proprieties... Joplin's ragtime expressed the intensity and energy of a modern urban America."[15]

Joshua Rifkin, a leading Joplin recording artist, wrote that "a pervasive sense of lyricism infuses his work, and even at his most high-spirited, he cannot repress a hint of melancholy or adversity... He had little in common with the fast and flashy school of ragtime that grew up after him."[39] Joplin historian Bill Ryerson adds that "In the hands of authentic practitioners like Joplin, Ragtime was a disciplined form capable of astonishing variety and subtlety... Joplin did for the rag what Chopin did for the mazurka. His style ranged from tones of torment to stunning serenades that incorporated the bolero and the tango."[20]

Joplin biographer Susan Curtis expands on those observations:

"When Scott Joplin syncopated his way into the hearts of millions of Americans at the turn of the century, he helped revolutionize American music and culture. His ragged rhythms and lilting melodies made people want to tap their feet, slap their thighs, or dance with happy abandon. As Americans embraced his music, they participated in a dramatic transformation of American popular culture – their Victorian restraint gave way to modern exuberance. And whether in the elegant parlors of comfortable, respectable American homes or in the honky tonks and cafes of America's sporting districts, ragtime music accompanied a reorientation of cultural values in America in the twentieth century. The excellence and appeal of his compositions earned for Joplin the generally accepted title King of Ragtime."[11]

But Kirchner finds it "fatefully odd that Joplin's work, the guiding influence in ragtime's earliest days, did not enjoy continuing exposure." Even after the success of "Maple Leaf," he composed a body of rags, that Kirchner writes are "of increasing lyrical beauty and delicate syncopation."[10] But except for Maple Leaf Rag and a couple of others, these rags "remained unheralded and obscure" during his lifetime. Joplin apparently realized that his music was ahead of its time: As music historian Ian Whitcomb mentions, Joplin "opined that Maple Leaf Rag would make him 'King of Ragtime Composers' but he also knew that he would not be a pop hero in his own lifetime. 'When I'm dead twenty-five years, people are going to recognize me,' he told a friend." Just over thirty years later he was recognized, and later historian Rudi Blesh would write a large book about ragtime, which he dedicated to the memory of Scott Joplin.[26]

Although he was penniless and disappointed at the end of his life, Joplin set the standard for ragtime compositions and played a key role in the development of ragtime music. And as a pioneer composer and performer, he helped pave the way for young black artists to reach American audiences of both races. And when he died, notes jazz historian Floyd Levin, "those few who realized his greatness bowed their heads in sorrow. This was the passing of the king of all ragtime writers, the man who gave America a genuine native music."[40]:197


After his death in 1917, Joplin's music and ragtime in general waned in popularity as new forms of musical styles, such as jazz and novelty piano, emerged. Even so, Jazz bands and recording artists such as Tommy Dorsey in 1936, Jelly Roll Morton in 1939 and J. Russell Robinson in 1947 released recordings of Joplin compositions ragtime on 78 RPM records. Between 1902 and 1961 more recordings of the Maple Leaf Rag were released by more artists than for any other Joplin rag.[41]

Performances and recordings


In the 1960s, a small-scale reawakening of interest in classic ragtime was underway among some American music scholars. In 1961, composer and performer Trebor Tichenor began publishing The Ragtime Review and hosting ragtime performances aboard a St. Louis riverboat named Goldenrod. In New York City, William "Bill" Bolcom learned of the existence of the opera Treemonisha in 1966 and began to search for it, finding that Rudi Blesh had published it a few years prior. Bolcom arranged with Thomas J. "T.J." Anderson for a full orchestration of the work and, in the meantime, began playing and composing rags, sending sheet music back and forth with his friends William "Bill" Albright and Peter Winkler, a mathematician and fan of ragtime. Blesh's friend Max Morath introduced them to the breadth of Joplin's rags. In 1968, Bolcom and Albright interested Joshua Rifkin, a young musicologist, in the body of Joplin's work. Together, they hosted an occasional ragtime-and-early-jazz evening on WBAI radio.[42]:179–182

Joshua Rifkin recordings

In November 1970, Rifkin released a recording called Scott Joplin Piano Rags[43] on the classical label Nonesuch. It sold 100,000 copies in its first year and eventually became Nonesuch's first million-selling record.[44] Record stores found themselves for the first time putting ragtime in the classical music section. The album was nominated in 1971 for two Grammy Award categories: Best Album Notes and Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra). Rifkin was also under consideration for a third Grammy for a recording not related to Joplin, but at the ceremony on March 14, 1972, Rifkin did not win in any category.[45]

Scott Joplin's signature.

Rifkin was affected by the revival: In 1974 he said, "I did a tour this fall and various other concerts since then, including two in London – there's a craze in England as well – and made something like ten appearances on BBC television this spring ... This past May I gave a concert in London's Royal Festival Hall, which seats about 3,200 people, and it was sold out within four days..."[46]

Gunther Schuller recordings

Gunther Schuller, a french horn player and music professor, formed the New England Ragtime Ensemble in 1972 from students at the New England Conservatory. He had received mimeographed copies of individual instrumental parts of the Red Back Book from Vera Lawrence, and was introducing Joplin tunes into the middle of otherwise 'classical' concerts of American turn-of-the-century music. Angel Records approached him with a record deal and, in 1973, produced a recording called Joplin: The Red Back Book.


In January 1971, Harold C. Schonberg, music critic at the New York Times, having just heard the Rifkin album, wrote a featured Sunday edition article entitled "Scholars, Get Busy on Scott Joplin!"[47] Schonberg's call to action has been described as the catalyst for classical music scholars, the sort of people Joplin had battled all his life, to conclude that Joplin was a genius.[42]:184 Vera Brodsky Lawrence of the New York Public Library published a two-volume set of Joplin works in June 1971, entitled The Collected Works of Scott Joplin, stimulating a wider interest in the performance of Joplin's music.

The Sting

Marvin Hamlisch produced the soundtrack for The Sting in 1973 and won an Academy Award for his adaptation of Joplin's music.[48] His adaptation of The Entertainer reached #3 on the American Top 40 music chart on 18 May 1974,[49] prompting the New York Times to write, "the whole nation has begun to take notice...".[46]

Edward Berlin tends to agree that the movie was an important factor in the revival: "Led by The Entertainer, one of the most popular pieces of the mid-1970s, a revival of his music resulted in events unprecedented in American musical history." He further added, "never before had any composer's music been so acclaimed by both the popular and classical music worlds."[3]



On October 22, 1971 excerpts from Treemonisha were presented in concert form at Lincoln Center with musical performances by Bolcom, Rifkin and Mary Lou Williams supporting a group of singers.[50] Finally, on January 28, 1972, T.J. Anderson's orchestration of Treemonisha was staged for two consecutive nights, sponsored by the Afro-American Music Workshop of Morehouse College in Atlanta, with singers accompanied by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra[51] under the direction of Robert Shaw, and choreography by Katherine Dunham. Schonberg remarked in February 1972 that the "Scott Joplin Renaissance" was in full swing and still growing.[52]

In May 1975, Treemonisha was staged in a full opera production by the Houston Grand Opera. The company toured briefly, then settled into an eight-week run in New York on Broadway at the Palace Theater in October and November. This appearance was directed by Gunther Schuller, and soprano Carmen Balthrop alternated with Kathleen Battle as the title character.[51] An "original Broadway cast" recording was produced. Because of the lack of national exposure given to the brief Morehouse College staging of the opera in 1972, many Joplin scholars wrote that the Houston Grand Opera's 1975 show was the first full production.[50]


"Elite Syncopations"

1974 saw the Royal Ballet, under director Kenneth MacMillan, create Elite Syncopations a ballet based on tunes by Joplin and other composers of the era.[53] That year also brought the premiere by the Los Angeles Ballet of Red Back Book, choreographed by John Clifford to Joplin rags from the collection of the same name, including both solo piano performances and arrangements for full orchestra.

Other awards and recognition

1970: Joplin was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame by the National Academy of Popular Music.[54]

1976: Joplin was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his special contribution to American music.[5]

1977: Motown Productions produced a Scott Joplin biographical film starring Billy Dee Williams as Joplin, released by Universal Pictures.

1983: the United States Postal Service issued a stamp of the composer as part of its Black Heritage commemorative series.

1989: Joplin received a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

2002: a collection of Scott Joplin's own performances recorded on piano rolls in the 1900s was included by the National Recording Preservation Board in the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.[55] The board annually selects songs that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."



  1. ^ a b c d e f Kirk (2001)
  2. ^ Jefferson, Margo. The New York Times, July 20, 1994. "Books of the Times; Setting the Rhythm for a New Era." Retrieved on November 8, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Berlin (1996)
  4. ^ "Opera America". Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  5. ^ a b "The Pulitzer Prize - Special Awards and Citations". Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  6. ^ Jasen & Tichenor (1978) p82
  7. ^ "Texas Music History Online – Scott Joplin". Retrieved 2006-11-22. 
  8. ^ Berlin, Edward A.. "Scott Joplin: Brief Biographical Sketch". Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  9. ^ 1880 United States Federal Census, as quoted in Berlin (1996), p6
  10. ^ a b c Kirchner (2005)
  11. ^ a b c d e f Curtis (2004)
  12. ^ a b Albrecht (1979)
  13. ^ a b c Christensen (1999)
  14. ^ "Definition from". 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Scott & Rutkoff (2001)
  16. ^ Blesh (1981) p.xviii
  17. ^ "Rags and Pieces by Scott Joplin". Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  18. ^ a b Blesh (1981) p.xxiii
  19. ^ a b Berlin, Edward A.. "A Biography of Scott Joplin". The Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  20. ^ a b c Ryerson (1973)
  21. ^ a b c Jasen & Tichenor (1978)
  22. ^ "A Biography of Scott Joplin". Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  23. ^ "Profile of Scott Joplin". Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  24. ^ Lawrence (1971)
  25. ^ "American Schubert". 1994-09-19.,9171,981443,00.html. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  26. ^ a b Whitcomb (1986) p24
  27. ^ Davis (1995)
  28. ^ Williams (1987)
  29. ^ Tennison, John. "History of Boogie Woogie". Chapter 15. Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  30. ^ Crawford (2001)
  31. ^ "". Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  32. ^ Jasen & Tichenor (1978) p88
  33. ^ Jasen & Tichenor (1978) p86
  34. ^ Blesh (1981) p.xxxix
  35. ^ Siepmann (1998) p36
  36. ^ Philip (1998) pp 77–78
  37. ^ Howat (1986) p160
  38. ^ McElhone (2004) p26
  39. ^ Rifkin, Joshua. Scott Joplin Piano Rags, Nonesuch Records (1970) album cover
  40. ^ Levin (2002)
  41. ^ Jasen (1981) pp.319–320
  42. ^ a b Waldo (1976)
  43. ^ "Nonesuch Records". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  44. ^ "Nonesuch Records". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  45. ^ "Entertainment Awards Database – LA Times".,0,7169155.htmlstory?target=article&searchtype=all&Query=. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  46. ^ a b Kronenberger, John (1974-08-11). "New York Times". The Ragtime Revival-A Belated Ode to Composer Scott Joplin. 
  47. ^ Schonberg, Harold C. (24 January 1971). "Scholars, Get Busy on Scott Joplin!". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  48. ^ "Entertainment Awards Database – LA Times".,0,7169155.htmlstory?target=article&searchtype=all&Query=. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  49. ^ "Charis Music Group, compilation of cue sheets from the American Top 40 radio Show". Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  50. ^ a b Ping-Robbins, Nancy R. (1998). Scott Joplin: a guide to research. p. 289. ISBN 0-8240-8399-7. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  51. ^ a b Peterson, Bernard L. (1993). A century of musicals in black and white. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 357. ISBN 0-313-26657-3. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  52. ^ Schonberg, Harold C. (13 February 1972). "The Scott Joplin Renaissance Grows". New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  53. ^ "Birmingham Royal Ballet". Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  54. ^ "Songwriters Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  55. ^ "2002 National Recording Registry from the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 


External links

Recordings and sheet music

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Simple English

Scott Joplin was a well-known ragtime musician and composer. Joplin was born in the U.S. state of Texas sometime between June 1867 and January 1868, and died in 1917.

He may be most commonly known from the Marvin Hamlisch adaptation of his composition "The Entertainer" which was used in the 1973 movie "The Sting" starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. His best-known song while he was alive was "Maple Leaf Rag". " The entertainer was a great piece it was a record breaking hit.

Scott Joplin wrote more than 40 piano rags, but he also wrote two operas; "A Guest of Honor" and "Treemonisha". "A Guest of Honor" was performed in Joplin's lifetime, but since then the music has been lost. "Treemonisha" was never performed while Joplin was alive, but it has been performed since then. Joplin also wrote a symphony, but the music has been lost.


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