Scott Joplin

Scott Joplin CHOW, BENJAMIN F EXTRA CREDIT In the late 1890s ; a craze for a new kind of music called ragtime swept the country off its feet. Instant popularity of ragtime increased before the turn of the century. By 1910, the ragtime mania reached its peak in all elements of music: popular dance, theater, and movie music. Scott Joplin was a young black man that mastered and polish this subtle art. Born in Texarkana, Texas on November 29, 1868, Scott became facinated with the piano at an early age and was mentored by a old german teacher that took him in as a pupil. Scotts style of piano playing stress his smooth singing tone and subtle sense of rhythm.

Scott has the tendency to turn melodic lines into delicate and but simple notes. Generally all of his pieces share the customary ragtime layout and composition of a pair of contrasting lines, each repeated and followed by the return to the first line, then a new section consisting of two or three repeated lines emerge and is usually subdominant. In Scotts piece the Magnetic Rag. The reappearance of the orginal theme at the close of the piece, shares a shocking likeness to Beethovens famous reoccuring I am Death Theme. In the Magnetic Rag, the return of the opening theme at the end of the piece creates a rondo-like structure with a scheme ABCDA, with the outer A section and the central C section stands in tonal harmony.

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This can be compared to his other famous pieces of work Maple Leaf Rag and The Entertainer which all exercise the reappearing theme that shows a tendency to round out by always returning to the home key. Magnetic Rag was the last piece that Scott completed. It was subtitled : syncopation classiques because of his wonderful blend of syncopation on every up-beat and mad-cow improvisations tailored to sound like European dance music that influenced early ragtime.