Joplin: Scott. Sheet Music and Biography

By | January 26, 2021

Joplin Sheet Music

Black & White portrait of Scott Joplin in his thirties
Scott Joplin
24 Nov 1868-1st April 1917

At the turn of the twentieth century, Scott Joplin was known as the ‘King of Ragtime’. He went on to write over one hundred ragtime pieces.

Try out popular pieces like Elite Syncopations, The Cascades and The Entertainer.

Life and Career

Joplin was born in Texas on 24th November 1868 to a musical family who were railway labourers. His father Giles played the violin and his mother Florence sang and played the banjo.

Joplin learnt the piano as a boy and he went on to form a vocal quartet whilst teaching the mandolin and guitar. He also accompanied his family as a railway labourer. However, in the late 1880’s he chose to head to the American south as a travelling musician. He soon became aware that black pianists were only offered work playing in churches and brothels. In 1894 he went to Missouri and became a piano teacher teaching some of the future ragtime players.

In 1895 he started publishing music and received fame in 1899 when he published Maple Leaf Rag followed by The Entertainer. He gained some financial stability from these successes, though this was fairly short-lived. The score of Joplin’s first opera (A Guest of Honor), was taken in 1903 along with his belongings for non-payment of bills.

Joplin’s presence at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 lead in part to the national ragtime craze of 1897.

In 1908 Joplin published ‘The School of Ragtime: Six Exercises for Piano‘ to assist students in the complexities of ragtime.

When Joplin moved to New York City in 1911 he published his second opera ‘Treemonisha’ at his own expense. He became obsessive which resulted in a nervous breakdown. Sadly it was never fully staged during his lifetime. It took sixty-one years before ‘Treemonisha’ was staged and well-received on Broadway in 1972.

Final Years and Revival

In 1916 Joplin was suffering from the terrible effects of syphilis. He had probably contracted the disease many years earlier. He was admitted to hospital and eventually moved to a mental institution where he died on 1st April 1917, aged just forty-eight.

Joplin marked the end of Ragtime and the start of mainstream music. In the 1970s there was a revival of his music as a result of the million-selling album recorded by¬†Joshua Rifkin and then his music appeared in the film ‘The Sting’.

Joplin Sheet Music Downloads and Further Reading

On music-scores.com we have around 60 arrangements of Scott Joplin Sheet Music in PDF format for you to download.

Read more about the ‘King of Ragtime’ on ScottJoplin.org website, Wikipedia and Britannica.