Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Burkholder, J. Peter. “Stylistic Heterogeneity and Topics in the Music of Charles Ives.” Journal of Musicological Research 31, no. 2-3 (2012): 166-99.

Juxtaposing disparate styles is a defining characteristic of Ives’s music. Analyzing The Alcotts from the Concord Sonata, Larry Starr showed how styles ranging from diatonic tonality to three distinct post-tonal styles delineate the form, and argued that Ives was exceptional in embracing “stylistic heterogeneity” as a basic principle. Yet Ives’s practice fits well in the tradition of musical topics described by Leonard Ratner and others, especially the coordination of contrasting styles to provide variety and articulate the form. A topical approach also reveals how using styles that carry particular associations creates expressivity and mean- ing. Ives uses as topics numerous traditional styles, beginning in his early tonal music, as well as modernist stylizations of familiar styles. Often, these musical topics overlap considerably with Ives’s use of borrowed musical material. For example, in The Alcotts the hymn topic contains material derived from Missionary Hymn and the pounding chords of the Hammerklavier topic explicitly evoke Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata. Understanding Ives’s stylistic heterogeneity as the use of topics allows a deeper and more comprehensive analysis of The Alcotts and other works and links his practice to that of past composers such as Mozart.

Works: Ives: Memories (177-81), Symphony No. 2 (181-83), Luck and Work (186-89), Piano Sonata No. 2: Concord, Mass., 1840-60 (189-97)

Sources: Stephen Foster: Gentle Annie (178-81), Massa’s in de Cold Ground (183) Anonymous: Pig Town Fling (181-83); Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade (186-76); Robert Robinson: Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing (187-88); Wagner: Lohengrin (191-92); A. F. Winnemore: Stop That Knocking at My Door (192); Lowell Mason: Missionary Hymn (192-94); Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106, Hammerklavier (192-97), Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 (193-94)

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: J. Peter Burkholder, Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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