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King of RagtimeScott Joplin and His Era$
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Edward A. Berlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199740321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740321.001.0001

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Final Years, Final Publications, 1914–1917

Final Years, Final Publications, 1914–1917

(p.293) Chapter 18 Final Years, Final Publications, 1914–1917
King of Ragtime

Edward A. Berlin

Oxford University Press

In 1914, Joplin self-published Magnetic Rag, his last composition to reach print. He makes prominent use of “12-bar blues,” Yiddish theater music, and ignores conventional ragtime key relationships; he seems to be taking his ragtime in new directions. He moved to Harlem with Lottie in 1914. At a concert in 1915, the Harlem-based Martin-Smith Music School performed the act 2 ballet from Treemonisha, this being the only orchestral performance of any part of the opera he was to hear. He continued composing, including a symphony and a piano concerto, but these were not published and all are lost. In 1916 seven piano rolls were issued as being hand-played by Joplin; only one may be authentic. In mid-January 1917 he entered Bellevue Hospital, and from there was transferred to a mental ward at Manhattan State Hospital. He died of syphilis on April 1, 1917.

Keywords:   Magnetic Rag, Treemonisha, Lottie Joplin, syphilis, piano rolls

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