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Play the Maple Leaf Rag for Scott Joplin

February 29, 2012

Maple Leaf Rag sheet music coverScott Joplin died on 1 April 1917 and his request to have the Maple Leaf Rag played at his funeral was not honored.

In 1950 the widow [Lottie Joplin] still regretted that she had refused the request her husband had so often made for the Maple Leaf Rag to be played at his funeral. — from Rudi Blesh’s introduction to Scott Joplin: Complete Piano Works (“Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist,” 27 July 1971)

So time has come to make amends and honor Scott’s request in a manner appropriate to the internet age.

Here’s the plan: on April 1, play the Maple Leaf Rag on your instrument(s) of choice. Band performances are fine, too. If you don’t play any instrument, fire up your favorite Maple Leaf Rag mp3. Crank it.

Musicians: You are strongly encouraged to share your performance with the world, so record yourself (or a friend or your band), upload your recording to your favorite video or audio sharing website, and post a link to it in the comments below. You can also tweet it to @King_Of_Ragtime or share it on the King Of Ragtime’s Facebook wall. Or keep your performance private, if you prefer, but feel free to share your thoughts.

First edition cover of the Maple Leaf RagStart practicing your Maple Leaf, get it down and be ready to jam on 1 April. Play it straight as-written, or add your own interpretation. It’s a challenging piece, so don’t worry about playing it perfectly — this isn’t a contest; energy and spirit are much more important than perfection (but don’t play it too fast ;)).

Remember, it’s important to perform the piece live on 1 April. Play as if Scott Joplin had personally invited you to perform it at his funeral. Let’s all give him the funeral he wanted!

April 1, 2012 will mark the 95th anniversary of Scott Joplin’s passing and this will be the first year of his belated funeral Maple Leaf Rag performance. If there’s interest, maybe we’ll do something special for the 100th year anniversary in 2017.


From → Maple Leaf Rag

  1. Remco Ritfeld permalink

    I love this idea!

    i already can play it for a year from now and look foward to post it to those who honor Ragtime 🙂

    what i also found funny is that i also already have been thinking about 2017, then i’m just going to visit America and come to his grave.. Just the history this man created.. 🙂

  2. Today’s the day to play it! Here’s a straight-up rendition from

    Joplin: Maple Leaf Rag (older version) (YouTube)

  3. Peter Lundberg permalink

    I learned it in 1957 which means another jubilee for me personally.
    The MAPLE LEAF is one of those few pieces that are just perfect as written,
    although there are great versions by gifted interpreters.
    Pity I didn’t see this yesterday but will certainly be together with you in 2017!
    Peter Lundberg

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  1. Maple Leaf Rag Day 2013 | King Of Ragtime

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