Scott Joplin was born in Texas in 1867. His father (who was a slave) and his mother (who was not) were both musical people. His mother cleaned houses for a living, and one of the homeowners who hired her also allowed Joplin to play the piano in her home. That’s how Scott Joplin taught himself to play the instrument.
As a teenager, Scott Joplin began to travel. He performed in saloons in Missouri, played the cornet in a band in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair, and took a few university classes before moving to St. Louis, where ragtime music was very popular. Eventually, he moved to New York City.
Joplin wrote all kinds of music, including an opera that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize sixty years after his death. But he is best known for his Piano Rags.
Here’s more information about Scott Joplin: https://www.classicsforkids.com/composers/composer_profile.php?id=39
“Ragtime is a genre of musical composition for the piano, generally in duple meter, and containing a highly syncopated treble lead over a rhythmically steady bass. A ragtime composition is usually composed of three or four contrasting sections or strains, each one being 16 or 32 measures in length.” https://www.loc.gov/collections/songs-of-america/articles-and-essays/musical-styles/popular-songs-of-the-day/ragtime/
Can you hear different rhythms in the music that Scott Joplin wrote? Can you hear where a piece moves from one section to another section?
Books about Scott Joplin
*These are Amazon links just for simplicity, but check your local library and local bookstore for these titles.
- Raggin’: A Story about Scott Joplin by Barbara Mitchell
- The King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin by Stephen Costanza