Scott Joplin was an African-American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions and was dubbed the "King of Ragtime Writers". During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the "Maple Leaf Rag", became ragtime's first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag. Joplin was given a rudimentary musical education by his family and from the age of seven he was allowed to play the piano while his mother cleaned. According to a family friend, the young Joplin was serious and ambitious, studying music and playing the piano after school. Joplin and his fellow ragtime composers rejuvenated American popular music, fostering an appreciation for African American music among European Americans by creating exhilarating and liberating dance tunes, changing American musical taste.