The King of Ragtime Writers, 1901–1902

Edward A. Berlin

in King of Ragtime

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780195101089
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853120 | DOI:
                   The King of Ragtime Writers, 1901–1902

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Ragtime began to be accepted by the American youth in the 1900s. From then on, its racial associations were weakened, and by 1905 or 1906 ragtime was the music not just of black Americans, but of all Americans. The author argues that probably the greatest source of disturbance for the whites was that the American youth at the time had so eagerly accepted a black expression. Scott Joplin sought acceptance as an educated, cultured, and respectable individual. In this regard, he allied himself with others in the black community who had similar aspirations. But his ragtime was rejected by these very same circles. With his success, Joplin had outgrown Sedalia and returned to St. Louis. The accolades Joplin had received in Sedalia pale besides the notice he received in St. Louis early in 1901. Later, Joplin announced that he was to move on to an entirely new level of music composition: writing an opera in ragtime.

Keywords: ragtime; American youth; Sedalia; St. Louis; opera

Chapter.  10228 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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