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King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era Paperback – Illustrated, May 3, 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"For those interested in Joplin beyond "The Entertainer" and "Maple Leaf Rag," Berlin's book is the starting point. Then, one can simply listen."--The American Interest

"What a scrupulous historian and musicologist Mr. Berlin is, rigorously sorting through the facts of Joplin's life and era....The history of popular music needs this."--The New York Times

"Not only was no stone left unturned [by Berlin], but very few pebbles are left for other scholars to pick up."--San Francisco Chronicle

"The most comprehensive and accurate published source of information about Joplin and a valuable complement to Berlin's earlier book, Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History....The King of Ragtime contains every fact about Scott Joplin that could possible be unearthed....His book, a milestone in the extended Joplin revival, goes a long way toward correcting a widely disseminated misinformation."--American Music

"It is a thorough and many-faceted profile of America's first black classicist and catalyst for a popular music sensation that went unabated for twenty years. Berlin's role here is not so much a biographer, but an investigative reporter....No one deserves this type of fair, admiring, intense historical and musicological research more than Joplin, one of the greatest of American composers. And no one was more up to the task of honoring him than Edward Berlin."--Notes

"In telling Joplin's story, the author examines the red-light district of St. Louis, where both Joplin and the great blues composer W.C. Handy lived around the turn of the century."--The Washington Post Book WorldR

"Berlin, an expert on the world of ragtime whose two previous books on it are standards, proffers a splendid new study of the acknowledged king of the music....This biography will be essential in any library concerned with American music."--Booklist

"[Berlin] examines and explains Joplin's many compositions in language that even the musically untrained can understand."--JazzTimes

"A state-of-the-art volume."--West Coast Rag

"The most subtantial account of Joplin's life and experiences we have."--Chicago Tribune

"[A] first-rate study....Black musical history has few happier endings than this celebration of the genius of Scott Joplin."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Recommended for American music collections."--Library Journal

"A masterful demonstration of the scholar's art, revealing previously unknown aspects of Joplin as ragtime musician, teacher, composer, and student....Enlightens as it challenges, traversing the worlds of music, culture and politics in describing Joplin's publishing arena and the cultures of prostitution, the church, the social club, and family life. The thorough discussion of Hoplin's famous "Maple Leaf Rag," of his opera Treemonisha, of the tour schedule for his first opera A Guest of Honor, and of his relationship to his second wife, are significant and alone are worth the reading of this book. King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and his Era is a major contribution to American musical scholarship."--Samuel A. Flloyd, Jr., author of The Power of Black Music

"Berlin has done a dogged job of digging up what little documentary evidence exists; he even proves that Joplin had a second wife, who died shortly after their marriage....Berlin's insights into Joplin's compositional process are enlightening.....Berlin edges out the competition, thanks to his more thorough knowledge of music."--Kirkus Reviews

"The most accurate and informative Joplin biography. Berlin has a sure grasp of the ragtime era....Berlin's analysis is always illuminating and expert."--Time

"Berlin brings the story full circle with a comprehensive summary of the fate of ragtime from its eclipse in the 1920s and 1930s to its comeback in the 1940s and the revival of Joplin's work still going on today."--Publishers Weekly

"The most thorough and useful biography yet of Scott Joplin."--The New York Times

"Edward A. Berlin's meticulously researched 'King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era' is a welcome addition to the growing literature on American popular music. Berlin's careful accounting of Joplin's life, his achievements as well as his failures, is greatly enhanced by a generous array of photographs, reproductions of the covers of sheet music, programs and advertisements of events in which Joplin participated, census records, legal documents such as marriage certificates, and Joplin's music itself."--Charles Merrell Berg, Magill's Literary Annual 1995

"King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era is a comprehensive, knowledgeable biography of the composer."--On the bookshelf

"At last, the most reliable biography of Scott Joplin has been expanded and updated! After more than 20 years of adding to his massive collection of data, newspaper articles, photos and serious conjectures, Ed Berlin presents the second edition, which is again more than the sum of its many parts. With a reorganization of chapters and an extra hundred pages, the story of Joplin's life and work not only brings the full scope of Ed's research into focus, but his craft of biographical writing makes it a worthy reading experience."--Ragtime Music Reviews


"The first edition of this book was published in 1994: this second edition is a hundred pages longer. Berlin sets the biographical scene in detail, covering Joplin's early life and performing activities in vocal and instrumental groups. His analytical comments on scores, with music examples, are basic and never intimidating. He tries to disentangle legends about Joplin's activities and is candid about what he has not been able to discover. This book contains a useful chronology; a catalogue of works; and two songs not easily available elsewhere. It is most unlikely that anything further will be discovered after Berlin's tenacious research over such a long period. Anyone interested in Joplin and in the whole scene muct be unreservedly grateful." -- Musical Opinion Quarterly

About the Author

Edward A. Berlin, Ph.D., is a major speaker and writer in today's ragtime world. His book Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History is the most widely cited study of the subject, and his monograph Reflections and Research on Ragtime is winner of an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.41 pounds
  • Paperback : 456 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0199740321
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0199740321
  • Dimensions : 9.2 x 1 x 6.1 inches
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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