History of Jazz

Scott Joplin


Scott JoplinProbably the most well-known ragtime composer was Scott Joplin. Born in Texas, Joplin studied piano as a young man. Since there were few schools in the southern United States that African-Americans were allowed to attend, Joplin probably did not go to school until he was a teenager. During his teens, Joplin began playing piano in bars to support himself. He eventually attended George Smith College, a college for African-American students in Missouri. After finishing school, Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag was published in 1899. Eventually, Joplin earned enough with the publication of this single work to support himself and to allow him to focus completely on composing. In all, he wrote 50 piano rags, two ragtime operas, and a few songs.

Did you know?

  • Maple Leaf Rag sold 1 million copies, making Scott Joplin a wealthy man.
  • Joplin won a Pulitzer Prize half a century after his death for his 1911 ragtime opera, Treemonisha.
  • Joplin's The Entertainer, received new popularity when it was featured on the soundtrack to the 1970s movie, The Sting.

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Sound Examples

MIDI Scott Joplin, The Entertainer
MIDI Scott Joplin, Maple Leaf Rag

Related Links:

Scott Joplin


The Entertainer, Maple Leaf Rag
  from Midi Mirage

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