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The Piano
There were scores of capable exponents of the piano rag, all o£ whom are dealt with comprehensively by Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis in They All Played Ragtime. The most important were Scott Joplin, composer of the first famous ragtime piece, Maple Leaf Rag; James Scott, Joseph Lamb, Eubie Blake, Tom Turpin, Jelly Roll Morton, Luckey Roberts and Tony Jackson. (Many others who played ragtime overlapped into other pianistic phases and will be discussed later.) White ragtimers came into the picture early, Blesh and Janis point out: one of the first was S. Brunson Campbell, a friend and admirer of Joplin and other leading Negro ragtimers. Campbell started to play and compose professionally about 1898, a year before printed ragtime got underway effectively with the publication of Joplin's Original Rags and Maple Leaf Rag.
Though the most widely publicized pianists are the few who gravitated toward St. Louis and Sedalia, Missouri, there is ample evidence that keyboards everywhere in America were resound­ing to ragtime during the same period. Luckey Roberts, the Philadelphia born ragtime pioneer, recalls that there were ex­perts in the East who developed their own styles quite in­dependently.
Roberts also pays tribute to Ike Randolph, the march king— **he played marches in syncopation*—while Willie "The Lionw Smith, who came up a decade after Roberts, asserts that Kid Griffin and Sam Gordon, both from Trenton, New Jersey, were among the finest technicians in early ragtime.
Since there was no phonograph recording and only limited access to ragtime on player piano rolls, most of the interchange of ideas in the tidal wave of ragtime mania (ca. 1897-1912) took place when these musicians went on the road, and through the vasts quantity of sheet-music that brought ragtime, amateur or professional, to every parlor during those heavily syncopated years.
The next piano style to develop after ragtime, which became obsolescent during and after the first World War, was "stride piano," so called because it made even more emphatic use of the after-beat left hand effects shown in Ex. 1. During the 1920s there were developments along these lines that amalgamated