And here folks, is the very song that started the craze of the early 1900’s that was known as ‘Ragtime.’ Ragtime is in and of itself a genre with wholly African/African American roots, with it’s playful, heavily syncopated melodies and giant leaping harmonies in the bass.
The undisputed ‘king’ of all of the ragtime composers was Scott Joplin, (1867-1917) whose two most famous compositions “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer” still make his name well known across the United States and around the world. The former, “Maple Leaf Rag” was written in 1899 and has served as a major influence for all future rags and ragtime composers. This is from a piano roll cut by Joplin himself in 1916. Sadly, at the time the roll was made, Joplin was suffering from the latter stages of Syphilis, which would claim his life the following year.
“The Maple Leaf Rag” would remain as Joplin’s favorite of all his compositions, and one of his dying requests to his wife was that it be played at his funeral. This never came to fruition, and Joplin’s widow, Belle, would, for the rest of her life, express extreme regret over not honoring her husband’s wish.