Searchlight Rag

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Search-Light Rag
by Scott Joplin
A stylized line drawing of searchlights shining their beams into a cross against a dark sky
1907 frontal cover of the sheet music.
Genre Ragtime
Form A Syncopated March and Two Step
Published 1907 (1907)
Publisher Joseph W.Stern & Co

Searchlight Rag is a ragtime composition by Scott Joplin, first published in 1907. It was named after the town of Searchlight, Nevada, where his friends had gone prospecting, inspiring the title.[1]


In 1907, the "Searchlight Rag" by Scott Joplin was published. In the early 1890s, Joplin's friends, the brothers Tom and Charles Turpin, had done prospecting in the Searchlight, Nevada area. The brothers' frequent stories of this experience, recounted to the patrons of their bar, inspired the title of the rag.[1]

Musical structure[edit]

Intro A A B B A C C D D[2]

Publication history[edit]

The copyright was registered August 12, 1907 to Joseph W. Stern and Company of New York.[2]

Like most Joplin compositions, "Searchlight Rag" was still under copyright during the ragtime revival of the 1970s, and the holder of copyrights for this piece, "Fig Leaf Rag" and "Rose Leaf Rag" withheld permission for their inclusion in the definitive New York Public Library edition of Joplin's works[3] and other collections.

In popular culture[edit]

The "Searchlight Rag" was used as "Ragtime Style" music in RollerCoaster Tycoon's Added Attractions and Loopy Landscapes expansion pack and the game Roller Coaster Tycoon 2.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Edwards, Bill. "Rags and Pieces by Scott Joplin (1906-1917)". RAGPIANO. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Jasen, David A.; Trebor Jay Tichenor (1978). Rags and Ragtime: A Musical History. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc. p. 93. ISBN 0-486-25922-6. 
  3. ^ Scott Joplin: Collected Piano Works, Vera Brodsky Lawrence, ed., The New York Public Library, 1971, p. xi

External links[edit]