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

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Classic Ragtime as America’s Music 

A documentary film production featuring the most noted ragtime experts.


Interviews with the foremost authorities on Classic Ragtime music explain how Joplin’s Classic style of syncopation became “America’s Music” because the nation’s music that followed is derivative of either his work or the precedence his music set. The video will also detail why Sedalia is recognized as the place where it all began.


A majority of this four-hour production would be videoed at the 2016 Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival and would focus on interviews with the foremost authorities on Classic Ragtime music alive today. Objectives include: 

1) Validate the uniqueness of Joplin’s Classic Ragtime originating from Sedalia, describing the intricacies of his style, how he synthesized existing musical elements, how he evolved his classic style, and the seminal role of the Maple Leaf Rag. 

 2) Trace the influence of the Maple Leaf Rag, et. al. on later popular and classical musical forms to justify the claim that American music emanated from his work. 

3) Trace the evolution of Sedalia’s ragtime commemorations from 1951 to the present and describe the importance these events have had, not only to the field of ragtime, but also to American music.

The eighteen to twenty-four month project will be managed by Larry Melton, noted ragtime historian and coordinator of the Sedalia Ragtime Archives Project. 


Principals to be invited to participate include:

David Reffkin, interviewer of the 30-year “Ragtime Machine” in San Francisco

Max Morath, internationally known 50-year recording artist, historian, ragtime chronicler

and producer of the PBS series “The Turn of the Century”

Ed Berlin, the ultimate authority on ragtime research and history and the definitive author of

Joplin’s biography

Dave Jasen, one of the world’s foremost authorities on ragtime music and collector of

Ragtime-related recordings

Rich Berry, who has photographed every major ragtime event in the country since 1990.

Richard Zimmerman, 50-year performer, producer, consultant and historian


The video will become a critical component of the Sedalia Ragtime Archive Collection.


The Sedalia Area Tourism Commission has approved partial funding as a Heritage Interpretation Project. Individual donors have pledged support and matching funding is being requested.