Maple Leaf Rag

November 2, 2023

Maple Leaf Rag
by Scott Joplin

(internet image)

“Joplin’s most famous composition, “Maple Leaf Rag,” was published while he was living in Sedalia, Missouri. It was named after the Maple Leaf Club; the date the club was founded is uncertain, but it was no later than November 24, 1898, when the first Maple Leaf ball was held. It is possible that the actual music predates this.”

“”Maple Leaf Rag” was published between August 10 and September 20, 1899, the latter being the date the score was received by the Copyright Office. It made Joplin’s name, his future works would be prefixed as by the composer of the “Maple Leaf Rag.””

~ was used on several episodes of The Simpsons. In the 2016 episode “Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus,” it soundtracks a short silent film in Mr. Burns’ variety show.
~ was used in the 1931 gangster movie The Public Enemy, starring James Cagney.
~ It was also used in these TV shows:
How I Met Your Mother (“The Rehearsal Dinner” – 2013)
– Boardwalk Empire (“Family Limitation” – 2010)
– Ugly Betty (“The Bahamas Triangle” – 2009, “Level (7) With Me” – 2009)
– Charmed (“Snow Ghouls” – 2005)
– M*A*S*H (“Dear Dad, Again” – 1973)

“In 1903, Stark released a new version with lyrics accompanying Joplin’s arrangement. Written by Sydney Brown, the story follows a poor man from Virginia who impresses the upper crust ballroom set with his rendition of “Maple Leaf Rag.” The chorus describes the feat:

Oh go ‘way man I can hypnotize dis nation,
I can shake de earth’s foundation wid de (with the) Maple Leaf Rag
Oh go ‘way man just hold you breath a minit, (minute)
For there’s not a stunt that’s in it with the Maple Leaf Rag


Scott Joplin: 1868 (Texas)-1917(New York City)
dubbed: “The King of Ragtime”
composed more than 40 ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas

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