As one of the most important writers of Ragtime, Scott Joplin's influence on American music in the past century is immeasurable. His songs "The Entertainer" and "Maple Leaf Rag" are known, at least subliminally, to just about everyone -- due in no small part to the movie The Sting. Joplin developed his rollicking piano style with one ear to the influence of classical waltzes, generating many rags that became immensely popular in the late nineteenth century. Joplin also wrote a few notable operas, basing his subject matter on life in the American South, though these works never achieved the same degree of success. Though inherently different (composed rather than improvised), the frenzied melodies and syncopated rhythms of Joplin's rags were extremely influential on the Dixieland and early jazz musicians that followed.