Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Hepokoski, James. “Temps Perdu.The Musical Times 135 (December 1994): 746-51.

Two paradoxical interpretations of Charles Ives’s use of borrowed music coexist: an authorial reading and a reading based on the element of lost time (“temps perdu”). The mature music of Charles Ives is internally teleological, building pieces or movements out of “memory fragments” of pre-existing American popular or sacred tunes and quoting the entire tune only at the end of the work (a form called “teleological genesis” or elsewhere “cumulative form”). An authorial reading of this technique situates the meaning of the piece in the creation of a peak experience, which itself intimates to the audience a transcendental understanding of the music beyond the sound itself. Listeners might consider thinking of Ives’s use of “memory-fragments,” or musical borrowings, through the filter of Ives’s personal experiences with his sources, which they may discover (at least in part) through his writings. The second reading of this phenomenon is that striking dissonance, “memory fragments,” and musical manipulation in Ives’s mature pieces represent his attempt to protect a treasured American past from the effects of adulthood and the modern world. Ives’s stylistic plurality in his mature years can be heard as a radical attempt to recover traditional securities of the past, a narrative thread (the “Motive of Lost Wholeness”) common in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century thought in general. Such pieces depict the past as only existing imperfectly in memory; thus listeners are invited by Ives to embark on a musical journey in search of lost time.

Works: Ives: The Fourth of July (747), Symphony No. 3 (747), Piano Sonata No. 2 (Concord, Mass., 1840-60) (747), String Quartet No. 2 (747), Violin Sonata No. 2 (747-49), Violin Sonata No. 4 (749-50), Violin Sonata No. 3 (750).

Sources: Robert Lowry: Need (750); Asahel Nettleton or John Wyeth (attr.): Nettleton (747); David T. Shaw: The Red, White, and Blue (Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean) (747-49); William Bradbury: Jesus Loves Me (749-50).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Kate Altizer, Chelsea Hamm, Daniel Rogers

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License