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King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era Paperback – Dec 1 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (Dec 1 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195101081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195101089
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 2.2 x 15.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,124,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Although he did not invent ragtime, Joplin (1868-1917) is the best-known exponent of this type of jazz, with its characteristic syncopated rhythms. Berlin (Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History) shows how Joplin launched his career in the black social clubs of Sedalia, Mo.; achieved success with the Maple Leaf Rag; and went on to win the respect of whites as well as his fellow African Americans, composing numerous rags and two operas, A Guest of Honor (now lost) and Treemonisha. Joplin, whose father was born into slavery, aspired to transcend his humble origins, but because details of his personal history are elusive, Berlin's conclusions about Joplin's often unhappy life and personal relationships tend to be speculative. The author lands on solid ground, however, with his analysis of Joplin's sophisticated and innovative compositions, demonstrating clearly how he expanded the language of ragtime. In the final chapter, Berlin brings the story full circle with a comprehensive summary of the fate of ragtime from its eclipse in the 1920s and 1930s to its comeback in the 1940s and the revival of Joplin's work still going on today. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Joplin knew he had a distinctive talent and so did several well-placed contemporaries, yet he never realized widespread acclaim during his lifetime (1868-1917). If he were alive today he could revel in the unique ways his music has placed him at the top: concert artists' repertoire; film music; an annual festival; even a postage stamp. Still, information on Joplin has been sparse. Here Berlin (author of Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History, LJ 3/1/80) helps by examining dates and events that are in question. Berlin provides two interesting features: a detailed listing of music published and copyrighted by Joplin during his lifetime and the music and text of three songs arranged by Joplin that were left out of NYPL's definitive The Complete Works of Scott Joplin (1981). Readers will want to compare Berlin's book with Susan Curtis's Dancing to a Black Man's Tune: A Life of Scott Joplin (LJ 4/15/94). Recommended for American music collections.
Kathleen Sparkman, Baylor Univ., Waco, Tex.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Sauteed Beanfries on May 10 2003
Format: Paperback
My review in two words: BUY IT.
This book is probably as thorough of a study into the life of Scott Joplin as is possible. Edward Berlin has obviously exhausted every resource available to him, and throughout, the book is well-noted - that is to say he gives credit to probably 99.9% of the sources of his information in the section for notes. Berlin has went through census records, newspapers, other books on ragtime, interviews with/statements given by numerous people affiliated with Scott Joplin and countless other sources for this book. This book is 99.9% true, solid facts; he seldom states a personal opinion, and when he does, it is made blatantly clear that that is what he is doing. This book also includes a listing of the complete known works of Scott Joplin, and the sheet music for the three songs "Good-bye Old Gal Good-bye", "Snoring Sampson" and "Lovin' Babe". (I would like to say in response to someone else's review that it is very difficult for me to see how the biography of a *musician* can be "interrupted" with music scores.)
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Format: Paperback
Despite years of detective work by musicologists, Joplin's life remains something of a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing. Berlin's work is the most coherent and robust work on Joplin's life to date, and barring some miraculous finding (such as the Sweatman files), it is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. The depth of Berlin's reportage and the obvious breadth of his detective work (he's a superb "triangulator") give his assertions and educated guesses on Joplin's life, work and motivations far greater academic vailidity than that of many authors who have chased this musical ghost.
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Format: Paperback
After reading Doctorow's Ragtime and visiting Scott's St. Louis home I was eager to learn more about Scott Joplin and this book satisfied that need.
It is a detective story putting the clues together how his life was lived. This makes it an interesting read.
The only warning I would have is that it is blocky and interrupted with music scores and other interludes which don't lend itself to a reading rhythm.
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By Carol on Jan. 30 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm am a big fan of Joplin, and I consider this biography the most accurate, of all of them, it tells about Joplins music, life, personality, performances, who he performed with, where he performed, lost works, and a lot more.
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By A Customer on May 22 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is by far the best Joplin biography out there. It gave me all the information I needed to know about Scott Joplin. It's highly recommended to everyone who is a ragtime or Scott Joplin fan.
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