• Born in Texarkana,
• Lived 49 years
• Musical Time
• His father was an ex-slave from North
• His mother was from Kentucky.
• Mom played the banjo & dad the violin.
• Had 3 brothers and 2 sisters that sang
and played guitar.
• Began playing the piano at 7 years
old. (neighbor’s house)
• At 11 he began lessons from a
German man who introduced him to
European style of music.
• He left home at age 14 and traveled,
playing in various places.
• Graduated from Lincoln High School
in Sedalia, Missouri.
• When Joplin was about 16, he moved
• He would entertain by playing the
piano at the Maple Leaf Club, in
Sedalia. (composed the “Maple Leaf Rag”)
• Also worked in St. Louis for a while.
• He continued to compose & teach
before moving to New York.
• In 1916 Joplin was found to have an
incurable disease which ended his
• He died on April 1, 1917, the same day
the U.S. entered the WWI.
• He was not widely accepted at first
because he was black.
• Only his friends & family was interested in
the beginning of his career.
• A publisher heard him playing the “Maple
Leaf Rag” while at the Maple Leaf Club.
• The black opera “Treemonisha” became
successful after his death.
• “The Entertainer” was a rag used in a
movie, “Sting” in the 1970’s.
“King of Ragtime”
• He wrote over 50 “rags” and 2 operas.
• “Maple Leaf Rag” sold over 1 million
• Played in various clubs and social
• Traveled to Kansas, Louisiana,
Arkansas, Missouri and New York.
• Toured with a musical group,
attended college as well as did some
• Ragtime is a combination of European
forms: West Indies, Spanish, Protestant
church music, Irish jigs and polkas…
• The beginning of ragtime comes from the
black folk music of the 1830’s and 1840’s
• African-American piano version of polka.
• Ragtime has a steady
beat in the bass with
a syncopated melody.
• Ragtime influenced
jazz. Difference is:
ragtime is composed
and jazz is
• The lighthearted and syncopated rhythms
made it a popular style of music in
America during the years of 1890 1920.
• With elements of “classical” style and light-
heart “popular” style, ragtime continues to
be popular in the world today.