Scott Joplin is known as the King of Ragtime because he mastered and diversified a sector of musical entertainment that was previously segregated between black and white Americans by being the forefront for written ragtime music.

Ragtime is a genre of music created in the 19th century that is characterized by its syncopated rhythm accompanied by instruments such as the piano or banjo.  It was highly popular among the African American community, and later by White Americans through integral Artists such as Scott Joplin.

Scott Joplin is a significant ragtime composer.  He was born to musicians, Jiles and Florence Joplin, and raised near Texarkana.  He began as a pianist and vocalist in the Texas Medley Quartet where he continually travelled and eventually settled in Sedalia, Missouri.  Here, he instructed and played, making his way to fame as a composer.

Scott Joplin’s most important piece as a ragtime composer is “Maple Leaf Rag.” Joplin is noted as one of the first African Americans to record ragtime on sheet music, making his works became the the model for ragtime pieces of his contemporaries.  Differing from ragtime, his second opera, “Treemonisha” is of great importance.  Through this opera, Joplin sought to tell African American’s to free themselves through education.  Treemonisha’s message was modernistic and not recurved well by its audience, causing its failure. 


Though the genre of ragtime occurred before Joplin, he is partly responsible for its popularity among Americans of multiple races.  Again, he is the one of the first African American’s to integrate classical teachings into the environment of African American music.  His involvement in ragtime not only provided a model for his contemporaries, but also prepared for the advent of the genre of jazz.

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