You may not recognize his name but I bet you will recognize his music! Some years ago, I lived in northeast Texas in a small community called Hughes Springs. I absolutely love that part of Texas and if life had unfolded differently for me, I would have been totally content to finish out my days there. While living in Hughes Springs, I learned that Scott Joplin was born just a few miles away. I made some efforts to find out more about Joplin’s birthplace and childhood, but didn’t get very far.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I had a wonderful vacation (more of a pilgrimage, really) back to the area I love so much. I decided this would be a good time to make another attempt to learn about Scott Joplin. In the planning of that trip, I made contact with David Mallette, the Executive Director of the Regional Music Heritage Center in Texarkana, Arkansas. I was able to meet up with Dave and delighted in his expertise of all things Joplin (and many other subjects – like pipe organs! Imagine that!). Armed with new information, resources, and a new friend, my book project began in earnest.
If you appreciate Joplin’s music as much as I do, you will enjoy a 3-CD set recorded by Richard Dowling. Scott Joplin wrote a lot of piano music and Mr. Dowling recorded all of it. If you would like to purchase the 3CD collection (and I know I enjoy my set!) it may be purchased directly from his site. Not only did Dowling record them all, he performed them all at Carnegie Hall, New York, in two consecutive concerts given on one day. (And here I am thinking I had a busy day when I played for two church services with totally different music on Sunday mornings. I’m such a slacker.) You can read more about Dowling’s concerts here.
And now, finally, the book project is complete. Mr. Mallette has completed an animation of the first few pages of the book and you will be seeing it soon, too. The book, The Strenuous Life of Scott Joplin, is available here.
For all of you Scott Joplin fans, I have a free “thank you” bonus for you for subscribing to the Maestro Heights newsletter.
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Print Music by Scott Joplin
All of the piano music of Scott Joplin can be found here for free. However, as I have discovered and others have reminded me, these are simply scans of the original sheet music. Nostaligic? Yes. Accurate? Not always. So enjoy them, but be prepared for some typos and misprints along the way.
Thankfully, there are many editions that have been corrected, edited and the type reset for better visibility. You might want to look at Alfred, Hal Leonard and other major publishers to compare the options.