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159 Wall Street Rag - by Scott Joplin
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Home Ragtime Articles of Interest 159 Wall Street Rag - by Scott Joplin

159 Wall Street Rag - by Scott Joplin

"The musician turned again to the keyboard.  "Wall Street Rag", he said.  Composed by the great Scott Joplin" (159).  "Do you know any coon songs? he said" (160).

"Ragtime" is an original musical genre that was popular between 1897-1918.  It was originally dancing music in America before it was avaiable as popular sheet music for piano.  During the scene of Coalhouse playing the piano, Father asks him if he knew any 'coon songs'.  The success of Ernest Hogan's All coon look alike to me helped introduce ragtime as a popular music for the whites but also created a number of degrading imitations of the song with uses of racial slurs known as "coon songs".  They were extremely racist and stereotypical images of black people during this era. 

 

Composer Scott Joplin achieved fame for his unique ragtime compositions.  His famous composition was "Maple Leaf Rag" and "Wall Street Rag" gave a big influence for the Ragtime genre.  "Scott Joplin had a steady income for life with royalties of one cent per sale; equivalent to 26 cents per sale in current value.  Joplin did not reach his level of success again and frequently had financial problems".

Coalhouse symbolized Scott Joplin within the book.  The only difference was that Coalhouse was very wealthy for a black man.  He had a good car, "white man's" clothing, and manners that did not match the typical everyday blacks during the Ragtime era.  Both men struggled to gain equality and respect from the whites.   The hardship of the genre "Ragtime" represented the boom and bust of Coalhouse Walker, Scott Joplin, and African Americans all around America during that time.

 

 

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Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Joplin#Works
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Scott_Joplin_19072.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WallStreetRagcover.jpg
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow 

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 September 2011 16:33  

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