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Scott Joplin:
Classical Music and the Movies

Lots of movies use classical music. Sometimes, that music is such a big part of the movie that the two become linked forever.

Music heard in this episode:
Joplin: Entertainer
Pachelbel: Canon
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4, 1st Movement
Catalani: La Wally, 'Ebben, Ne Andro Lontano
Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra
Johann Strauss Jr.: On the Beautiful Blue Danube
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21
Barber: Adagio for Strings
Wagner: Ride of the Valkyries
Saint Saens: Symphony No. 3

Other shows about Scott Joplin:
About Scott Joplin
Ragtime Music
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. Scott Joplin's music was relatively unknown until it appeared in what movie?

Star Wars

Lord of the Rings


The Sting


2.2001: A Space Odyssey used music by what composer?

Ludwig Von Beethoven

Wolfgang A. Mozart

Richard Strauss

John Philip Sousa

Aaron Copland

3. What instrument is featured in Camille Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3?







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