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Scott Joplin: Maple Leaf Rag

Joplin wrote the "Maple Leaf Rag" around 1897, in honor of the Maple Leaf Club, a black social club that existed briefly during the late 1890s in Sedalia, Missouri. Shortly after its completion, Joplin told fellow ragtime composer Arthur Marshall that "the Maple Leaf will make me King of ragtime composers". The sheet music was published in September 1899 by John Stark & Son after Joplin submitted the rag to three other publishers. In its first six months the piece sold 75,000 copies, becoming "the first great instrumental sheet music hit in America".
Over 1 million copies of the sheet music were eventually sold, making Scott Joplin the first musician to sell 1 million copies of a piece of instrumental music. In addition to sales of sheet music, it was also popular in orchestrations for dance bands and brass bands for years. Unfortunately, Joplin failed to relive the success of Maple Leaf Rag, with none of his other famous rags (such as The Entertainer) garnering as much popularity as the Maple Leaf Rag did. The royalties earned off the sheet music sales did provide Joplin with a steady income for the rest of his life, however.

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