Scott Joplin: The Maple Leaf Rag

Track

The Maple Leaf Rag

Artist

Scott Joplin (piano)

CD

The Greatest Ragtime of the Century (Shout Factory 30160)

Buy Track

Musicians:

Scott Joplin (piano).

Composed by Scott Joplin

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Recorded: Piano roll made at an unknown location, April 16, 1916

Albumcovergreatestragtimeofthecentury

Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

From 1899-1917, as jazz gestated in uterine New Orleans, ragtime (contraction of "ragged time") was America's liveliest music. Near the end of its reign, but before the coronation of acoustic recording, Scott Joplin committed his sheet-music bestseller "Maple Leaf Rag" (1899) to piano roll, whereby perforated paper mechanically reproduces a musical performance. To modern ears, the noises of this toilsome contraption are distracting, rather like a milkman's horse-drawn wagon clopping through deserted cobblestone streets at dawn. But when the delivery includes "Maple Leaf Rag," who's complaining? Combining stately rhythms with irreverent syncopation, Joplin made jazz inevitable. A landmark.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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