One of the rites of passage of most developing pianists is performing The Entertainer.
Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer is a classic ragtime piano piece that was composed and published in 1902. Joplin was an African American composer and pianist, widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the development of ragtime music.
The Entertainer was not an immediate success when it was first published, but it gained popularity over time and became one of Joplin’s most famous compositions. The piece gained even more widespread recognition when it was used as the theme music for the 1973 movie The Sting, which starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
Despite its popularity, Joplin did not make much money from The Entertainer during his lifetime, and he died in 1917 at the age of 49 in relative obscurity. It was not until many years later that his contributions to music were fully recognized, and he was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his contributions to American music.
Today, The Entertainer remains a beloved and recognizable piece of music that is often used in films, television shows, and other media. It is a testament to Joplin’s skill as a composer and his role in shaping the course of American music history.
James L. King III’s arrangement gets down to the essence of the ragtime classic without over-simplifying, and in many cases, one might believe they are hearing Joplin’s original score! Unlike many arrangements of this piece which only feature the famous first strain, all sections and themes from the piece have been included, making this selection a great recital choice.
Key: C Major
Mood: happy, content
Pedagogy: staccato, syncopation, 1st and 2nd endings, accents