Publication Year



Music, Charles Ives, America, performance, recital, society


Composition | Music | Music Performance | United States History


Because of the advanced, complex, and innovative character of much of Charles Ives's music, and because of the equally complex and sometimes confusing ideas expressed in his writings about music, and art in general, a somewhat narrow and erroneous understanding of Ives's attitudes, aesthetic, and philosophy has evolved. Indeed, for his time, Ives possessed a most advanced and radical aesthetic and philosophy. However, his use and advocacy of techniques such as polyrhythm, polytonality, extreme dissonance, concept music, and microtonal sustems has all too often been misinterpreted by scholars and historians as a rejection of more traditional "manners" or techniques. The household songs and popular sentimental ballads of the nineteenth century provide an excellent backdrop for the study of such misinterpretation. Scholars and historians have traditionally viewed this music as a prime object of Ives's disdain and criticism. However, this genre actually had a significant influence on Ives and was in many ways an ideal embodiment of his musical philosophy and aesthetic. The influence of this music on Ives's own composition is shown clearly in his collection of 114 Songs which he published in 1922. But before examining the influence of this nineteenth century popular music on Ives, on must first see how Ives himself was influenced by the nineteenth century New England society in which he grew up.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status