What do you think of Scott Joplin

The entertainer

He was known to traditional jazz musicians like the black shoe shiner around the corner. They took his music because it carried a new kind of syncopation that was ideal to use. Silent film companions harnessed his "rags". The more angular the movements of the silent actors, the more appropriate their melodies and rhythms. With James Scott and Joseph Lamp, Scott Joplin made ragtime world famous. Anyone who somehow jumbled for fun in honkytonks or bars in Texas or St. Louis in 1900 was playing their music, either from their heads or from notes. The first sheet music editions came out when ragtime music was already popular in North America. Joplin just hadn't written them down yet. Ragtime fashion reached its peak around 1910. The surge in popularity was unstoppable. Scott Joplin's music spread quickly, first in the United States, then in Europe, as far as Germany. Experiencing rag music in revues, cafés, in smoky pubs and dubious establishments, on the screen and on the stage, that was the big hit of the "Golden Twenties" alongside foxtrot and shimmy. The processing frenzy was rampant at the time, as it had been decades before. The literature up and down was incorporated, trimmed to meet needs, that is, down-instrumented, also falsified on a large scale. Scott Joplin's piano productions were ideally suited for this. More recently, "New Rag" has been arranged for four cellos, "The Entertainer", Joplin's most famous, but by no means best number, even for five cellos. Which piano student knew and does not know »The Entertainer«?

Joplin was born in Texas in 1867 or 1868, the exact date is unknown. A dangerous area for black people. But the boy played the piano so well that he caused a stir. In St. Louis, he soon made his living as a pianist in honkytonks and saloons. The ears of the masses pricked up when he presented his rag innovations at the world exhibition in Chicago. Joplin also played the cornet, for example in the Queen City Concert Band, which played military marches, Euro-American dances such as the quadrille, folk songs, and salon music. His rag piano music was nourished from this intonational hodgepodge. At first it came in a crude condition, later the composer developed an art that was not only rhythmically but also melodically differentiated. Information about this is provided by the two-volume sheet music edition, which the Leipzig musicologist and publicist Eberhardt Klemm (1929-1991) edited and commented on for Edition Peters in the 1970s.

Joplin also founded the vocal quartet The Texas Medley Quartet and the Vaudeville Shows, so he was well versed in various fields. At times the composer was doing quite well. The pieces that he wrote down and distributed by publishers brought in so much royalties that he no longer had to wander around. According to Eberhardt Klemm, he bought a large house in which to teach and compose. It didn't stay that way. The more money flowed, the bigger Scott had in mind. He composed the popular ballet "Ragtime Dance" and the ragtime opera "A Guest of Honor" and failed with both. The opera never came to press. Despite the crisis, he worked on the three-act opera "Treemoniha" in New York in 1907 and also completed it, a work that was later labeled the most important forerunner of Gershwin's opera "Porgy and Bess". Joplin seriously believed that he could end up with the production in the "serious" bourgeois company, which was impossible for a black at the time. There is only one piano reduction of the opera. The score is lost. It was not until 1972 that the work was premiered in Atlanta / USA, which was a sensation. His efforts in vain: worn down and ill, Scott Joplin died in Manhattan State Hospital on April 1, 1917. He was only 49 years old.

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