Sedalia Ragtime Archive
          dedicated to the genius of Scott Joplin and the American Music History he made in Sedalia 

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Sedalia Ragtime Archive Project


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Ragtime Archive Collections

Research Library


For...there Once Was A Man 

Who Heard Music in the Air…


no others could hear it, but to him it was there 

all around him, and in him

he wanted to share. 

For the music he heard

could be defined in two words: 

contagious, outrageous,

bodacious, a third.


The man also heard music everyone knew

and all of their music was in his head too.

 All around him, and in him
but what could he do

with this music he heard?


It was fidgety, flappity; free as a bird

Melodious, commodious,
but not very new. There were ...

Viennese waltzes, and bold polonaises, 

and hymns that inspired

with anthemic praises
enlivening tangos and striding fandangos 

and liturgical chantings   o’er Italian Bel cantos. 


There was Fugue and Sonata, 

Mazurka, Cantata
and mourning ex-slaves

wailing songs of their days 

of cruel subjugation

in their bondservant cages.
So the man who heard music that no one else heard

decided to blend it to what he preferred; 

a creation, sensation,

t’was almost absurd. 


But then he disclosed

that what he composed
was contagious, outrageous

and tapped everyone’s toes.


This music he gathered from other locations

was new and exciting, such a bright innovation.

that he started to brag on his “Maple Leaf Rag”

till everyone noticed his latest creation. 

Some joyfully exclaimed,

and others proclaimed,
“Scott Joplin is King, for his music will bring

him fortune and honor and national fame”. 


So, let it be known throughout this far land

that Sedalia’s a place
where America’s music began.


--Larry Melton 1-2016