Nerissa Prewitt

Nerissa Prewitt

Modified & Updated: 07 Sep 2023


Scott Joplin, often referred to as the “King of Ragtime” music, was a groundbreaking composer and pianist who left an indelible mark on American music. Born in Texas in the late 1860s, Joplin’s innovative style and virtuosic piano playing revolutionized the ragtime genre and influenced future generations of musicians.

In this article, we will delve into 13 lesser-known facts about Scott Joplin that shed light on his life, career, and musical legacy. From his early struggles and successes to his collaborations and enduring compositions, Joplin’s story is a testament to the power of creativity and perseverance.

So, get ready to discover intriguing details about the man behind the iconic “Maple Leaf Rag” and learn more about the life and times of Scott Joplin, the extraordinary artist who broke musical barriers and forever changed the face of American music.

Table of Contents

Scott Joplin was born in 1868.

Scott Joplin, a renowned composer and pianist, was born in Texarkana, Texas in His birth marked the start of a musical journey that would revolutionize the world of ragtime.

He began learning music at a young age.

From a young age, Joplin showed immense talent and passion for music. He started learning to play the piano when he was just seven years old, setting the stage for his future success.

Joplin composed over 100 ragtime pieces.

Scott Joplin’s contribution to ragtime music is unmatched. Throughout his career, he composed over 100 ragtime pieces, including his most famous composition, “The Entertainer.”

He was known as the “King of Ragtime.”

Due to his significant influence and contributions to ragtime music, Joplin earned the title of the “King of Ragtime” during his lifetime. His compositions continue to be celebrated and performed to this day.

Joplin’s music blended classical and African-American musical traditions.

Joplin’s compositions were a fusion of classical music styles and African-American musical traditions, resulting in a unique and captivating sound that captured the hearts of many.

His most famous opera is “Treemonisha.”

Aside from his ragtime compositions, Joplin also ventured into the world of opera. His most notable opera, “Treemonisha,” was a groundbreaking piece that tackled themes of African-American culture and community.

Joplin published the “School of Ragtime.”

In an effort to educate aspiring musicians, Joplin published the “School of Ragtime,” a collection of instructional pieces that provided guidance on playing ragtime music.

He faced challenges and discrimination as an African-American musician.

During a time of racial inequality and prejudice, Joplin faced numerous challenges and discrimination as an African-American musician. Despite these hurdles, he persevered and left a lasting impact on the music industry.

Joplin’s music was reintroduced to mainstream audiences through “The Sting.”

In 1973, Joplin’s music experienced a resurgence in popularity when several of his compositions were featured in the Academy Award-winning film “The Sting.”

He was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

In 1976, Joplin posthumously received a Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to American music. This recognition solidified his status as a musical pioneer.

Joplin’s legacy inspired future generations of musicians.

Joplin’s innovative approach to music and his groundbreaking compositions inspired countless musicians who followed in his footsteps, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of music.

Joplin’s music continues to be celebrated today.

The timeless quality of Joplin’s compositions ensures that his music remains relevant and beloved. To this day, his works are performed in concerts, recorded by musicians, and enjoyed by audiences around the world.

Joplin’s influence extends beyond the realm of music.

Scott Joplin’s impact goes beyond his contributions to music. His perseverance, talent, and determination in the face of adversity serve as an inspiration for all those who strive to achieve their dreams.


Scott Joplin was a trailblazing composer and pianist whose contributions to the development of ragtime music have made him an iconic figure in American music history. Through his innovative compositions and groundbreaking style, Joplin helped popularize the syncopated rhythms and lively melodies that have come to define ragtime.

Although his life was marked by challenges and setbacks, Joplin’s talent and passion for music propelled him to success. His most famous piece, “The Entertainer,” remains a beloved classic that continues to captivate audiences to this day. Joplin’s impact on music is immeasurable, and his legacy as the “King of Ragtime” lives on.


1. When was Scott Joplin born?

Scott Joplin was born on November 24, 1868, in Texarkana, Texas.

2. What is Scott Joplin’s most famous composition?

Scott Joplin’s most famous composition is “The Entertainer,” which gained widespread popularity after its inclusion in the soundtrack of the 1973 film “The Sting.”

3. Did Scott Joplin only compose ragtime music?

While primarily known for his contributions to ragtime music, Scott Joplin also composed other forms, including operas and classical pieces.

4. What impact did Scott Joplin have on music?

Scott Joplin’s pioneering work in ragtime music helped shape the genre and pave the way for future jazz and popular music styles. He played a significant role in bringing African-American musical traditions to the forefront of American culture.

5. How did Scott Joplin’s career unfold?

Scott Joplin faced challenges early in his career but achieved recognition and success with the publication of his “Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899. He went on to publish numerous compositions and toured extensively, leaving a lasting impact on the music world.