Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.M.

Degree Granting Department

Music

Major Professor

Robert Clifford.

Keywords

chromaticism, melodic contour, text-setting, parallelism, tritone

Abstract

Charles Ives is commonly referred to as the "Father of American Music." The implication is one that Ives himself would agree with, that he wrote purely American ideas from his own environment without reference to other styles or methods, in particular the widespread European tradition. Some composers, like Aaron Copland and Roger Sessions, created an American sonority by incorporating the concepts of musical construction they studied at the Paris Conservatoire. Ives, conversely, received no instruction in Europe, but the techniques so prevalent in the music of the French art song are found in certain songs written by Ives. Though he claimed no European influence, however, he used the late nineteenth century French song style in some of his songs, and he also borrowed tunes from the French composers.

This study identifies significant trademarks of eighteenth century French song and the stylistic traits associated with a variety of prominent composers of the time. Ives's childhood musical influences, his church position, and his studies at Yale University will establish a relationship between Ives and the French musical ideas. The primary source for his songs is his collection entitled 114 Songs. Ives gathered his songs and put them into one collection which included Four French Songs. Through the analysis of several songs, including the four French songs written by Ives and three comparisons of songs by Ives with songs by French composers, it becomes evident that Ives was influenced, to a certain extent, by French music and used many techniques of the style.

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