The Entertainer Analysis
Scott Joplin was most well known throughout his career for writing unique Jazz compositions and was known as the “King of Ragtime." During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his most well known and popular pieces today is The entertainer which has gone down as one of the all time classics of ragtime and indeed in Jazz. The entertainer was written in 1902 while Scott Joplin was in St Louis and was intended as a moderately paced dance tune. Although ragtime wasn’t particularly popular at the time the entertainer found its way into the mainstream ragtime revival in the 1970s, when it was used as the theme music for the 1973 Oscar-winning film The Sting. The Entertainer is a classic example of a ragtime time piece written during this era. Ragtime is most commonly thought of as a solely piano form that reached its greatest popularity between 1897 and 1914 and was songs that people could dance which appealed to popular trends of the time. Most ragtime’s during this time employed syncopated melody over a regular, march tempo bass line and were often attached to other instrumental music, songs and dance. We hear from the beginning of the entertainer that it has a fast paced rhythm and this is persistent through the entire song adding to the upbeat, danceable atmosphere to the song. The entertainer is written for the most part in C major but when the C section is repeated; it modulates to the subdominant, F Major, and then through a transitional passage modulates back to C Major for the D section. The melody that is played throughout the piece is accompanied by the syncopated left hand base line which gives interest to the song and sets an upbeat mood for the piece. Throughout the melody there is at various times blues notes evident, showing that this piece although at a very high quality was still based in Jazz. The form of the piece is AA BB A CC which is very typical of...
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