Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Ballantine, Christopher. "Charles Ives and the Meaning of Quotation in Music." The Musical Quarterly 65 (April 1979): 167-84.

Quoted musical fragments are as deep in symbolic content as Freudian symbols of "dream-text" fragments. A distinction is made between quoted musical matter that involves words and quoted musical matter that does not. Quotations of untexted music, such as "Westminster Chimes" in Ives's Second String Quartet and the opening motive of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in Ives's Second Piano Sonata ("Concord"), evoke philosophical associations but not literary meaning. But quoting texted music, such as the songs Ives uses in his Fourth Symphony and his song West London, provides a deeper meaning if the listener knows the original words. Different structures of meaning exist for various listeners in a work that utilizes borrowed materials: (1) abstract, which concerns purely musical relationships; (2) programmatic, eliciting extra-musical associations; and (3) musico-philosophical, uniting all levels of perception and transcending both abstract musical relationships and programmatic images. Ives's Central Park in the Dark and Washington's Birthday illustrate the way in which these levels work. Although in some cases Ives may have borrowed material for structural and thematic reasons, he was still undoubtedly exploiting the connotations of this borrowed material to incorporate different levels of meaning into his music.

Works: Ives: String Quartet No. 2 (171-72), Piano Sonata No. 2: Concord, Mass., 1840-60 (172), West London (173-74), Fourth Symphony (174-76).

Sources: "Westminster Chimes" (171-72); Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor (172); "There is a fountain" (173-74); Lowell Mason: "Bethany" (174-75), "Watchman" (175); Arthur Sullivan: "Proprior Deo" (175-76).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Lee Ann Roripaugh, Fredrick Tarrant, Paula Ring Zerkle

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