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Meet Amazing Americans Musicians & Composers Duke Ellington
Front cover of 'Rosary' 1903.
Front cover of "The Rosary" sheet music from 1903

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Duke Ellington's Early Years
Duke Ellington was born in Washington D.C., and from an early age he loved music. When he was four years old, he listened to his mother play a popular piano tune called "The Rosary" and he cried, saying, "It was so pretty. So pretty." Not long after that, at the age of seven, he began to play piano himself. It seems that he knew he was going to go places. He told his next door neighbor, Mr. Pinn, "One of these days I'm going to be famous." How old do you think Duke Ellington was when he started writing music?
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