The evolving perception of Charles Ives and his music



Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

John Beall.


When Charles Ives's music began to appear in performances and publications in the 1920s, his admirers often regarded him as an American experimentalist who had created radically new kinds of music that was independent from the European musical tradition. This outlook characterized much of what was written on Ives before the 1980s. At that time, a different picture of Ives gradually began to emerge. It argues that in fact, Ives's music owes as much to the European classical tradition as to American vernacular traditions. Scholars began to reconsider Ives's place in music history and stress his debt to the European tradition. This research paper traces the evolution of the scholarly response to Charles Ives, by examining significant studies of the composer written over the span of several decades---from Henry and Sidney Cowell's pioneering book on Ives (1955), to Frank R. Rossiter's biography (1975), J. Peter Burkholder's books and essays (1983-1996), and finally to Stuart Feder's psychoanalytical study (1992). From these works, we can observe how and why the traditional image of Ives was cultivated and what evidence was provided by later scholars for the revision of that image.*.;*This dissertation is a compound document (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation). The CD requires the following system requirements: Adobe Acrobat.

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