The "King of Ragtime"
Scott Joplin composed music in a form similar to marches.
Listen to John Phillip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever.
Notice how each section is repeated and then there is a new section?
Now listen to Joplin's Maple Street Rag - same deal!
The syncopated rhythms were referred to as “ragged time,” which was eventually shortened to - you guessed it - Ragtime.
Rags (shortened again) became very popular
He made a modest living as a composer during his lifetime.
The big awards came much later.
1973: An academy award for Best Film Score (Joplin's original music) in the movie The Sting
1976: A Pulitzer Prize for his opera Treemonisha (the first opera ever composed by an African American)