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24 November 1868, Texarkana, Texas, USA, d. 1 April 1917, New York City, New York, USA. Joplins father was born into slavery, becoming a freedman with Emancipation in 1863. A musical individual, he encouraged the musical aspirations of his sons and daughters. Scott Joplin, who was originally self-taught, moved to St. Louis while still in his teens, by which time he was an accomplished pianist. Although adept in various styles, including that of contemporary classicists such as Louis M. Gottschalk, Joplin excelled in the currently popular ragtime music. In 1894 he was in Sedalia and soon afterwards began committing to paper many of the rags he had heard played by ragtime professors and tunes he had himself composed. One of the latter, Maple Leaf Rag, was hugely successful and this recognition encouraged him to turn his attention to extended works in a quasi-classical style. His efforts at ragtime ballets (The Ragtime Dance) and ragtime...