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“The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin

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“The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin

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“The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin


song info

    “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin is a ragtime song.

    Song Title: The Entertainer
    Artist: Scott Joplin
    Genre: ragtime jazz
    Composer: Copyright © 1902 Scott Joplin (Publisher John Stark & Son)
    Number of listens: 20843
    Current rank: 365 (updated weekly)
    Highest rank: 349 (play the video all the way through to register a vote for this song)

    A rag time two step played on solo piano.

First Edition Cover of The Entertainer


    Summary quotation from Wikipedia:

    “The Entertainer” is a 1902 classic piano rag written by Scott Joplin.

    One of the classics of ragtime, it returned to top international prominence as part of the ragtime revival in the 1970s, when it was used as the theme music for the 1973 Oscar-winning film The Sting. Composer and pianist Marvin Hamlisch’s adaptation reached number three on the Billboard pop chart and spent a week at number one on the easy listening chart in 1974. The Sting was set in the 1930s, a full generation after the end of ragtime’s mainstream popularity, thus giving the mistaken impression that ragtime music was popular at that time.

    The Recording Industry Association of America ranked it #10 on its “Songs of the Century” list.


    “The Entertainer” is sub-titled “A rag time two step,” which was a form of dance popular until about 1911, and a style which was common among rags written at the time.

    Its structure is: Intro AA BB A CC Intro2 DD.

    It is primarily set in the key of C Major; however, for the C section (commonly referred to as the ‘Trio’), it modulates to the subdominant, F Major, then through a transitional passage modulates back to C Major for the D section. The “B” section contains an indication that the melody is to be played an octave higher on the repeat.

    In the June 7, 1903 St. Louis Globe-Democrat, contemporary composer Monroe H. Rosenfeld described “The Entertainer” as “the best and most euphonious” of Joplin’s compositions to that point. “It is a jingling work of a very original character, embracing various strains of a retentive character which set the foot in spontaneous action and leave an indelible imprint on the tympanum.”

    Suggested by the rag’s dedication to “James Brown and his Mandolin Club,” author Rudi Blesh wrote that “some of the melodies recall the pluckings and the fast tremolos of the little steel-stringed plectrum instruments…” In fact, Stark issued an arrangement of the piece for two mandolins and a guitar.

Publication history

    The copyright on “The Entertainer” was registered December 29, 1902, along with two other Joplin rags, “A Breeze from Alabama” and “Elite Syncopations,” all three of which were published by John Stark & Son of St. Louis, Missouri. The centerpiece of the original cover art featured a Minstrel show caricature of a Black man in formal attire on a theater stage.

    “The Entertainer” also appeared in orchestration as part of “The Red Back Book” of “Standard High Class Rags” popular with ragtime bands.

—from Wikipedia (the Wikipedia:Text of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License applies to Wikipedia’s block of text and possible accompanying picture, along with any alterations, transformations, and/or building upon Wikipedia’s original text that applied to this block of text)

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most recent comment

    Alexis: Great song!

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