A service of Cincinnati Public Radio  

Scott Joplin:
About Scott Joplin

From a very early age, Scott Joplin supported himself as a performing pianist. Eventually, he earned a living selling his compositions, too. Thanks to Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, the most famous of all piano rags, Joplin became known as the King of Ragtime Writers.

Music heard in this episode:
Joplin: The Chrysanthemum
Joplin: The Easy Winners
Joplin: Elite Syncopations
Joplin: Bethena
Joplin: Maple Leaf Rag
Joplin: Great Crush Collision
Joplin: The Cascades
Joplin: Pineapple Rag
Joplin: Rosebud
Joplin: Treemonisha

Other shows about Scott Joplin:
Ragtime Music
Classical Music and the Movies
Black Composers of Classical Music

Download this month's activity sheet

About Scott Joplin
1/1/1867 - 4/1/1917
Born in America

Today, birthdays are very carefully recorded, but no one knows for sure exactly when Scott Joplin was born. According to the United States census taken in July of 1870, Scott Joplin was two years old. And no one is sure where Joplin was born, either -- it was probably in northeast Texas.

Scott Joplin's father was born into slavery in North Carolina; his mother was a freeborn woman from Kentucky. Both his parents were musical. When his parents separated, Scott's mother supported the family by cleaning houses, and he was allowed to use the piano in one of those houses. He taught himself to play.

As a teenager, Joplin started traveling. In Missouri, he played piano in saloons; for the 1893 World's Fair, he headed to Chicago, and played cornet in a band. After spending some time in college, Joplin moved on to St. Louis, the hotbed of ragtime music. Eventually, he wound up in New York City.

Scott Joplin wrote some songs and stage works, but he's best known as one of the greatest composers of piano rags. In 1976 -- almost 60 years after Scott Joplin died -- his opera Treemonisha was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

See other composers born in America


This Week's Quiz:

1. No one knows exactly what day or year Scott Joplin was born.



2.Scott Joplin was best known for composing what type of music?


String Quartets



Rock and Roll

3. Scott Joplin won the Pulitzer Prize for which musical work?

Pineapple Rag


Maple Leaf Rag

Great Crush Collision

The Cascades


Talk to us
We love to hear your comments on Classics for Kids.

Get the Classics for Kids Volume 1 & 2 CD set for your family

Home | This Week's Show | Past Shows | Composers | Games | Music | More | For Grownups
On the Radio | Events | Links | Contact Us
Teachers | Parents | About Classics for Kids | Privacy Policy
©2017, Cincinnati Public Radio, Inc.