Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Burkholder, J. Peter. "Ives and the Four Musical Traditions." In Charles Ives and His World, ed. J. Peter Burkholder, 3-34. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

As a performer and composer, Charles Ives worked in four distinct musical traditions: American popular music, American Protestant church music, European classical music, and experimental music. In his mature music, Ives synthesizes these traditions into a new modernist idiom. Ives initially worked in these four traditions independently, occasionally modeling his compositions on existing works in their tradition; for instance, his First Symphony is modeled on Dvořák’s New World symphony and echoes music by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Tchaikovsky. Later in his career, Ives frequently combined elements from two or more of these four traditions in a single work, often through various musical borrowing practices. In his 1914 song General William Booth Enters Into Heaven, Ives weaves all four musical traditions together. Popular music is evoked by the marching band “street beat” cadence—realized by an experimentalist recreation of drum sounds using dissonant piano chords—and by the paraphrase of James A. Bland’s minstrel song Oh, Dem Golden Slippers. Protestant hymns are evoked by Ives’s borrowing of There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood. Finally, the song itself is constructed as a Romantic art song, meant to convey to the listener a vicarious experience of the text. The variety in Ives’s music should not be understood as a lack of discipline, but as versatility to appeal to a broad range of musical tastes.

Works: Ives: Holiday Quickstep (6-7), Symphony No. 1 in D Minor (12-13), General William Booth Enters Into Heaven (23-29)

Sources: David Wallis Reeves: Second Regiment Connecticut National Guard March (7); Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, From the New World (12-13); William Cowper: There is a Fountain Filled with Blood (24, 26-28); James A. Bland: Oh, Dem Golden Slippers (25-26)

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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