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The French Art Song Style in Selected Songs by Charles Ives by Christy Jo Talbott A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music Department of Music College of Visual and Performing Arts University of South Florida Major Professor: Robert Clifford, Ph.D. Ann Hawkins, M.M. Warren Jaworski, D.M.A. Date of Approval: July 14, 2004 Keywords: tritone, parallelism, text-s etting, melodic contour, chromaticism Copyright 2004, Christy Jo Talbott
Table of Contents List of Tables...ii Beau Soir/ Natures Way similarities.............43 Abstract...iii Chapter One: Introduction..1 Chapter Two: The French Art Song Style .............6 Chapter Three: Exposure to French Art Song in the Early Years of Charles Ives............17 Chapter Four: Four French Songs by Charles Ives ..23 I. Quil mirait bien II. Elgie..29 III. Chanson de Florian.33 IV. Rosamunde.36 Chapter Five: French Idioms in American Songs.40 Beau Soir/Natures Way.40 Nocturne/....44 Nanny/The Housatonic at Stockbridge...48 Chapter Six: Conclusion ....54 References..60 Appendix i
List of Tables Table 1: Beau Soir/ Natures Way ii
The French Art Song Style in Selected Songs by Charles Ives Christy Jo Talbott 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. Ivess 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 iii
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. iv
Chapter One Introduction Charles Ives is commonly referred to as the Father of American Music (Rossiter, 1975, 301). His own statements imply that his compositions incorporated American ideas from his immediate environment without reference to other styles. He rejected claims that compared his style to any specific composer. I found that I could work more naturally and with more concentration if I didnt hear much music, especially unfamiliar music. To make a long story short, I went to very few concerts. I suppose everyone is built differently and works differently. It just so happened that I felt I could work better and liked to work more, if I kept to my own music and let other people keep to theirs (Ives, 1972, 137-8). Ives described as silly the suggestion that he study composition in Europe. He held little respect for those who esteemed composers or their compositions based on specific standards of a Paris Conservatory or other European institution. In fact, for an American composer to produce American music, Ives felt that a day in a Kansas wheat field will do more for him than three years in Rome (Ives, 2001, 52). He further commented on the concert programming of new music and its relation to European schools of thought. In a letter dated Feb. 23, 1938, Ives wrote to his fellow composer John Becker that those who selected new pieces were interested in nothing more than nice-copy-cat-European-salon-pretty little-velvet-sounds to please the pansy ears and 1
help the prima-donna-commercialized-conductors get their money easier (Burkholder, 1996, 237). Composers such as 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. In his Ode to a Music Critic, Ives wrote that the fictitious critic he called George need not even attend a concert. Any piece written in Europe was, according to Ives, already accepted as music worthy of concert repertoire and would receive a good review. In the same context, Ives further separated his music from a European style with a comparative analogy of simple, one-syllable words (European music) versus more complex two-syllable words (his music). I say if a man hasnt had no experience except in one syllables, hed better not try to listen to a story in two syllables he will simply get all bored. And if hes goin to try to tell someone about the story, hed better just stick to the first syllables and forget the rest (Ives, 1972, 243). Ives was a self-proclaimed all-American composer who wrote over one hundred twenty-nine songs. Most researchers and Ives scholars, including his best friend and fellow composer Henry Cowell, agree that these songs are American traditions, documentation in sound of American history. The autobiographical statements in his books, Essays Before a Sonata and Memos proudly claim an American style without European influence. Ives ridiculed European ideas, particularly those of the French. Cowell confirmed that Ives passionately, even vociferously, asserted the right of the American artist to be himself and therefore different from any European(Cowell & Cowell, 1955, 9). 2
America, however, is known as a melting pot as is the music created by its composers. Ives painted a musical Americana with recognizable folk melodies and hymns, but he also borrowed ideas from the genre of French art song just as he borrowed hymn tunes. The French characteristics evident in some of his songs do not parallel his statements that reject a European influence. Charles Ives took a conservative stance regarding any geographical influence on his compositional style. He claimed inspiration only from his father, wife and the townspeople of Danbury, Connecticut. His decision to include French songs in his self-published collection 114 Songs 1 raises questions as to the validity of such a denial. The fact that he even wrote French songs is worth questioning. Despite his attitude toward European traditions and his loyalty to his native land, Ives conceded that factors exist outside of nationality. In essence, his songs could include more than American ideas. He believed in the universality of the soul and spoke of it in a comparison of African and American music. A true love of country is likely to be so big that it will embrace the virtue one sees in other countries and, in the same breath, so to speak But the sadness of it is, that if he had been born in Africa, his music might have been just as American, for there is good authority that an African soul under an X-ray looks identically like an American soul (Ives, 2001, 49). Ives songs, such as The Circus Parade and To Edith (his daughter), contain references to his environment. Other songs in the collection, such as I travelled among unknown men, infer a global perspective. Ives composed with American sounds of the circus and the sideshow, but his references were not limited to his environment. Those 1 Ives assembled the collection entitled 114 Songs and paid for its publication. He sent it to many of his colleagues in the hope that they would return constructive, though not necessarily positive, reviews. This collection includes all but fifteen of his songs which may have been written later. 3
who are quick to apply nationalistic labels might suggest that Faur spent hours fitting music to the text just because he was French. In fact he did not. One can find in his music, however, many traits indigenous to the French style of the time. And so it is with Charles Ives. In his book Essays Before a Sonata, Ives cautioned any composer who becomes conscious that he is in the easy path of any particular idiom, -that his interests lie in the French school or the German school, or the school of Saturn,that it has monopolized a geographical part of the world's sensibilities, then it may be that the value of his substance is not growing,-that it even may have started on its way backwards,and that he is getting farther and farther from a perfect truth (Ives, 2001, 52). It is my intent to show that Charles Ives wrote some American songs in the style of the French art song and borrowed specific musical ideas from French art song composers. This study begins by identifying prominent traits of the French art song style. Ives experienced French music and ultimately, art song, through his musical father, his organist positions, private music lessons and studies at Yale University. Through these experiences, a connection is made regarding the influence of French art song as it contributes to the use of French art song traits in selected American songs. An analysis of the four French songs written by Ives reveals the traits that he used to reflect the French art song style. The consistent use of specific traits that relate to the French art song style establishes the criteria for examination into the American songs. A preliminary study of French art song characteristics within the entire collection 114 Songs reveals those songs that contain a French quality from an aural perspective. The French songs used for comparative study are derived from aural similarities to the characteristics within the American songs. Ultimately, this claim of the influence of French art song in 4
selected songs by Charles Ives is confirmed with an examination into other American songs that reflect the same style. These songs are chosen from a preliminary study of prominent characteristics of French art song. Additional investigation uncovers songs that are consistent with the style of the French art song. 5
Chapter Two The French Art Song Style In 1871, a group of composers, teachers and organists formed the musical circle of war-torn Paris. The group became known as the Societ Nationale de Musique and included such notable musicians as Csar Franck, Ernest Guiraud, Camille Saint-Sans, Jules Massenet, Jules Garcin, Gabriel Faur, Alexis de Castillon, Henri Duparc, and Thodore Dubois. The primary function of the Societ Nationale de Musique was to promote French music. As the members discussed and selected pieces for the performances, they shaped what would become a distinctive style. Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel became members after 1890 and brought with them new but complementary ideas. Students from the Schola Cantorum (formed by Vincent dIndy) with a strong concentration on counterpoint, tonal stability, and form, entered the group. Other students from more progressive schools brought suggestions for experimentation. Because of the increased diversity of musical thought, dissension arose among the members regarding selections for performance at the annual concerts. The original members decided to continue these concerts with pieces that remained true to their sense of harmony, rhythm, form and melody. The solidarity of the original group prompted some of Ravels students to form a new group for the purpose of promoting experimental ideas. These innovations strayed 6
from the nationalistic style created by the originators of the Societ. For the purposes of this study, I refer to the French art song as conceived by the original members of the Societ. The concerts of the Societ focused on large orchestral settings by young French composers but included French art song among a variety of genres. The first concert program, for example, included Trio by Franck, Capriccio for Two Pianos by Saint-Sans, Concerto for Violin by Garcin, Two Melodies by Dubois, Five Pieces by de Castillon, and Improvisation for Tenor by Massenet (Duchesneau, 1978). The members solicited unconditional financial support from the aristocrats of Paris, and, consequently, they were free to choose the programs. The art song, then, became a standard part of the concert repertoire. Determined to separate themselves from German ideas, the French composers looked to their countrymen for inspiration. Successful poets and painters discussed current affairs of art and other subjects with composers. Paris, particularly the area of Fontainebleau, was a gathering place for artists to converge daily in the salons and exchange ideas. These conversations helped shape a musical style that included a profound appreciation of text and a strong awareness of melodic shape and color. Concepts of French art crossed genres, and composers included ideas from visual artists such as Claude Monet and literary artists Paul Verlaine, Thophile Gautier and Stphane Mallarm, among others. The salon song was the popular style of the day. Women, the primary performers, sang short pieces that were both lyrical and sexy. These pieces were intended to entertain crowds. Melodic lines, consequently, were written to be easy to sing for performers and audience members alike. The composers of French art song embraced the popularity of 7
the salon style. Songs such as Ballade de gros dindons (Song of the Turkeys) by Emmanuel Chabrier, for example, combine the whimsical character of the salon song with the French art song style (Hurst, 1969, 133). French composers encountered exotic scales from Russia and Spain and the percussive orchestrations of the Javanese Gamelan at the Paris Exposition Universalle of 1890. These ideas appealed to the composers as they listened intently to the imported sounds of other cultures. From this point forward, French art songs included whole tone, octatonic and forms of pentatonic scales. Occasionally, composers added a percussive treatment to the piano accompaniment, but the more extensive instrumentation of orchestral settings provided a more logical environment for Gamelan influence (Hurst, 1969, 134). With a new appreciation for art song, teachers at the Paris Conservatoire taught components of song along with the orchestral and choral elements of composition. Franck, one of the founding members of the Societ, was the Director of the Paris Conservatoire for many years and was the most influential teacher of the time. Known mostly during his lifetime as an organist and teacher, he taught composers Henri Duparc, Ernest Chausson and the originator of the Schola Cantorum, Vincent dIndy. The art song developed into a consistent style under Francks tutelage. The importance of text over music is the most prominent trait in French art song, likely due in part to the daily conversations composers had with poets such as Paul Verlaine and Victor Hugo. Textual importance translated musically into a greater emphasis on the melody over harmony or form. The melodic line reflects an emphasis 8
given to vocal rhythms, contour as it relates to the text, melodic interval function, vocal range, accompaniment texture, and harmony. In French song, melodic contour often suggests a particular mood. Descending lines may symbolize deepening sadness or losing a loved one, while a long ascending line suggests hope. In Gabriel Faurs Lydia, for example, the first four lines speak of fond memories of rosy cheeks and shining days with rising structural pitches from the opening G to one octave higher. Next, as shown in Example 1, the lover suggests Oublions lternelle tombe (Let us forget the eternal grave), while the melody descends from the high pitch G with an interruption by an elaboration of the word eternal to rest a minor seventh away, on A. , J J J J J J J j J J Le jour qui luit est le meilleur, Oublions le ter nelle tom be EXAMPLE 1. Faur, Lydia, mm. 11-14. Thirds and tritones convey mood and tension within the text. Rarely does the melody begin on tonic, the most stable of tones. Most often it begins on the third of the chord, the mode-defining interval. Minor modes may invoke sadness for the opening of a song; major modes sometimes indicate a gladness that is conveyed with the opening lines of text. The tritone in the melody brings tension befitting the text and typically implies chaos or confusion just prior to a poetic and musical resolution. Example 2 shows how Leo Delibes used a chromatic ascent that spans a tritone to add a mocking laugh to end his Maids of Cadiz. 9
##43 J 6# # # ah!...................................... EXAMPLE 2. Delibes, Maids of Cadiz, mm. 72-76. Though the Societ Nationale de Musique opened the concert hall for songs like these to be performed by professionals, composers also expected the pieces to be accessible to amateurs. The vocal range is generally a 10 th or less, though exceptions exist. Gabriel Faur consistently restricted the melodic range to a tenth and used weak cadences to make the melody more fluid. Accompaniments primarily provide harmonic and textural support for the melodic line. These parts were written for the amateur pianist and most often contain easy arpeggiations particularly in the opening segment. In Ernest Chaussons Les Papillons (see Example 3), texture in the accompaniment is airy and quick, describing the fluttering butterfly. ??##4242 EXAMPLE 3. Chausson, Les Papillons, mm. 3-6. 10
Accompaniments have little musical interest. Many song settings include recitative, a carryover from French opera, with only a dyad or triad in the accompaniment for the duration of the measure. Jules Massenet, for example, in his Premier Danse, placed the focus on the vocal line. As Example 4 shows, the accompaniment, embellished with grace notes, is strictly an elaborated harmonic support. &&&bbbbbb868686 j j J j j J J j #j j j J #j ?j j J j j nj j . j j #j J #El le va, vient en sautant Tou jours a vec gra ce, EXAMPLE 4. Massenet, Premier Danse, mm. 19-22. &?bbbbbbbb4242 n n n n The strophic quality of the songs makes it even easier for an amateur pianist to learn the piece. In Example 5 from Gounods O Ma Belle Rebelle, the triadic right hand pattern repeats until the final cadence, and the left hand contains a pair of quarter notes in seventy-one of the ninety-five measures. EXAMPLE 5. Gounod, O Ma Belle Rebelle, mm. 10-13. 11
Supporting harmonies include extended chords, augmented sixth chords, and chromatic passages that lead to modulations. It is a rare French art song that concludes without at least one structural ninth or eleventh chord. Parallelisms of 9ths, 11ths, and the occasional 13 th are also common. The tritone, another staple of the French art song, is used melodically and structurally. Modulations in French art song often involve chromaticism. A popular method is the chromatic third modulation. Example 6 shows that Camille Saint-Sens, in his La Cloche, employed third modulations with repetition of rhythmic patterns. &?bbbbbbbbbbcc b w b bb w wbb bb w wbb bb bb b DbBbbFbDbbFb EXAMPLE 6. Saint-Sans, La Cloche, mm. 24-28. Chromatic lines or pitches initiate modulations to new local key areas, but they may also indicate the larger structure. The broad structure sometimes shows a scheme of tonal areas that move chromatically, such as the modulation in Csar Francks La Procession from D major to Eb major in the B section. A familiar classical form provides an environment of structural stability regardless of harmonic freedom within phrases. Form is identifiable as through12
composed, rounded binary or ternary with a strophic design and clear distinctions of different sections. The most common form is the rounded binary. Chromatic modulations to distantly related keys (F Gb), chromatic bass lines, and whole tone scales in French art song stray from the initial mode. When the original key returns, usually with the same motivic material, the familiarity of the original theme in the initial mode brings a sense of repose to the listener. Debussy stated that clarity of expression, precision and concentration of form are qualities peculiar to the French genius (Bernac, 1970, 33). The typical rounded binary form provides an environment for the return of familiar themes, offering a sense of repose to end a song. Rallentandos in this style are rare but are found in the songs of a few composers such as Faur. Composers avoided dominant to tonic or other expected cadences until the end of the song and, even then, often used an incomplete dominant. Tonic inversions, deceptive cadences, and delays of melodic resolutions might be employed to weaken cadences. The descending bass line from F to D#, as shown in Example 7, leads the harmonic support to a resolution. &?############4444 o n n n n n n n n n n n n n # 3 EXAMPLE 7. Franck, Nocturne, mm. 16-19. 13
The challenge for French composers was to synthesize the mood and text with the music. The common classical forms provided a stable, structural environment for texts of sensitive issues and strong emotions. The most common subject was love or love lost, the mood typically sad or disparaging. Emphasis was on the mystery, the subtle (the shades of light and dark in impressionism), the poetic. The French art song emphasizes moods and impressions more than specific emotions, as does the following poem by Louis de Fourcaud entitled Nocturne, set by Csar Franck. Nocturne O fresh night, transparent night, mystery without obscurity, life is black and devouring, O fresh night, transparent night, give me your serenity. O lovely night, starry night, you are looking down on me, bring light to my troubled soul, O lovely night, starry night, let your smile pervade my thoughts. O saintly night, taciturn night, full of peace and gentleness, my heart is seething like a cauldron. O saintly night, taciturn night, bring silence to my heart. O grand night, solemn night, in which all is delicious, take my whole being under your wing, O grand night, solemn night, pour sleep into my eyes. 14 Francks song includes several elements of the French style. Seventh and ninth chords occur throughout the introduction. Over a dominant pedal, three inner voices
descend chromatically. The top voice begins on E#, a ninth above the tonic D# goal at the end of measure three. Typically avoiding the tonic in the vocal line, the singer enters in measure four on the fifth of the tonic triad. Parallel movement of seventh chords, parallel bass motion in low register thirds, and a pentatonic G#, B, C#, D#, F# resolution, shown in Example 8 (m.2 b. 4), demonstrate the mystery of the ethereal nuit transparente (transparent night) in verse one. EXAMPLE 8: Nocturne, mm. 4-5. Each stanza of Francks song conveys a different mood. Slight rhythmic variations in the left hand of the piano create this change for the listener. Verse two, for example, provides a thicker texture with left hand doubling of the top line of the right hand. The contrast provided by a hemiola in the right against left hand of the piano (m. 28 ff.) underscores the conflict of sainte nuit (holy night) and mon coeur bouillone (seething heart) that occurs in the text of verse three. A melodic tritone marks the singers request that the solemn night verse le sommeil pours sleep into his eyes. The move to the final verse illustrates subtle changes that occur on the same tonic pitch. The modal changes from D# minor to Eb major announcing the grande nuit. Example 9 illustrates the change in accompaniment pattern (m. 38 ff.) that supports the grand 15
night. A harp-like arpeggiated pattern conveys the text as sixteenth note figures replace the eighth notes of the previous verse (identical to the pattern in ex. 8), providing the most fluid texture of the piece. &&?bbbbbbbbbccc r r O gran de nuit, ---------------------EXAMPLE 9. Franck, Nocturne, m. 38. The French art song style contains a clear distinction between melody and harmony. Harmonies add color with the use of augmented chords and provide stability and support in simple accompaniment patterns and clear endings. Melodies ascribe to the text via rhythmic conformity, descriptive ascending and descending lines, and mood-defining intervals with specific functions. These pieces speak to the listener with lyricism often dictated by a contour that directs the motion to a peaceful ending. 16
Chapter Three Exposure to French Art Song in the Early Years of Charles Ives A typical man of the late 1800s who remained in Danbury, Connecticut for his entire childhood and college years likely would have had little exposure to French art song. Charles Ives, however, was the son of George Ives, the town bandmaster and a Civil War bandleader. The elder Ives had some formal musical training in New York City but, for the most part, he pursued musical ideas on his own. George and his musical friends enjoyed playing the music of Beethoven, Wagner, Brahms, and Franck (Cowell & Cowell, 1969, 87). The townspeople knew George as a master musician, a jack of all musical trades. George Ives studied music theory for almost two years with Carl Foeppel in New York (Ives, 1972, 246) and became fascinated with quarter-tones and the study of acoustics. He used the piano as a percussive instrument and made machines to produce quarter-tones. In his personal diary entitled Memos, Charles wrote, Father experimented with sounds. He tried: 1) the slide cornet, 2) glasses for very small intervals, 3) tuned piano in actual partials (as well as he could by ear no acousticon [an amplification device]), 4) new scales without octaves (glasses), 5) also violin strings stretched over a clothes press and let down with weights. Father had a kind of interest in sounds of every kind, everywhere, known or unknown (Ives, 1972, 45). 17
It was George who first used his entire arm on the piano to produce a cluster. Such experimentation was his forte. George was imaginative also with the acoustical and spatial effects of sounds. He directed the band in sections from a variety of places. The brass might play from the end of the street while the sounds of the woodwinds came from the church steeple. George broadened the aural perceptions of the townspeople with his innovative ways. Young Charles was influenced and inspired by these ideas. He was enthusiastic about his fathers experiments in acoustics. In one instance, George listened to the rain hitting the overhang from outside the front door and made several trips to the piano to reproduce the sounds. Charlie watched from the window and, more importantly, listened intently to what his father accomplished with the sounds. It is this intense ability to hear and retain musical ideas that brings significance to the music Charles heard at a young age. At age 12, for example, Ives wrote his first song, Slow March, with ideas from Handels Saul. As a young composer, Ives replayed in his mind the music that he heard and adapted it to his own environment. It is not surprising, then, that he might compose works that include traits from the songs played in his Danbury home. Though we have no list of specific songs played in the Ives home, there are indications that a young Charles may have heard French art song, or at least some of the primary characteristics of French music of the late eighteenth century. George organized small chamber recitals in his home and played popular music by Stephen Foster as well as classical music. The favorites of George (Franck and Brahms) were the favorites of Charles. Ives wrote about the shared musical favorites of his father and grandfather in his Essays Before a Sonata. 18
A young man, two generations ago [Charless grandfather], found an identity with his ideals, in Rossini; when an older man in Wagner. A young man, one generation ago [Charless father], found his in Wagner, but when older in Cesar Franck or Brahms. Ives continued with his own preferences, like his father, for Wagner, then, later in life, for Franck and Brahms. A man remembers [himself] at twenty-five listening to Wagner with enthusiasm, But when he became middle-aged-Wagner seems less and less to measure up to the substance and reality of Cesar Franck, Brahms, d'Indy, or even Elgar (Ives, 2001, 45). By age thirteen, young Ives played the organ regularly for services in the Congregational Church (Burkholder, 1996, 411). There were several prolific French composers of organ music at this time, particularly Franck and Theodore Dubois. In his article The Organist in Ives, Burkholder reveals the level of virtuosity Charles showed as a teenager by playing the Grand Fantasia in E minor by Frenchman Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens (Burkholder, 2002, 257). He likely also became familiar with popular choral pieces by Mendelssohn and Gounod at this time (Alexander, 1989, 17). Ives studied at Hopkins Grammar School in preparation for Yale University. His pre-Yale musical exercises document his understanding of specific traits that are typical of the French song. Though his terminology indicates a reference to a specific salon song style (burlesque), the techniques relate more closely to the French art song. The following two exercises correspond to two of the prominent traits of French art song as discussed in Chapter Two the use of whole tone scales and ninth chords. This exercise, shown in Example 10, was written in 1891; he entitled it No. 431 Burlesque Whole-Tone Exercise. Charles was fifteen at the time. 19
&?cc #www#. #j www # #www##. #j # www## # # .# # ##MS (f7439) EXAMPLE 10. Ives, No. 431 Burlesque Whole-Tone Exercise, score. Example 11 is an exercise in ninth chords labeled No. 426 Burlesque Harmonization in C, possibly written in 1892 (Sinclair, 1999, Chapter IX B). These exercises were written at least two years prior to his attendance at Yale. &?cc ... b ... ... b n #... # # ...# b# EXAMPLE 11. Ives, No. 426 Burlesque Harmonization in C, score. Although Ives received some training at Hopkins Grammar School before entering Yale, Horatio Parker, a Battell Professor of the Theory of Music at Yale University, was his most prominent teacher (Nesnow, 1981, Series VI). Parker was well known and quite respected in the music field. When George Ives died suddenly in 1894, Mr. Parker, nineteen years older than Charles, became a father figure. 20
Ives attended Yale from 1894 to 1898 and encountered European art music in his lessons and in recitals and concerts he attended (Cowell and Cowell, 1969, 12). One such concert was, according to the Yale Daily News, a recital on Oct. 25, 1894, Adoratio et Vox Angelica by Thodore Dubois (Burkholder,1996, 265). Dubois was one of the original members of the Societ Nationale de Musique. One assignment from Parker was to compose music from previously set German and French art song texts. As part of the curriculum, Parker used songs by Schubert, Schumann, Massenet, and Godard (Hitchcock, 1977, 21). Four French songs by Ives, though likely edited several times, are derived from Parkers assignments and are included in his publication 114 Songs. 1 Ivess scholastic record indicates his coursework, but it is interesting to consider his choices. Most freshmen take courses that are mandatory. Junior and senior year courses often indicate individually selected classes. The study of languages was strongly encouraged and, during his freshman year, he studied Greek, Latin, and German. In the sophomore year, the language courses were Greek, Latin and French. In his junior and senior years, however, he took no more Greek and Latin but continued his studies in French (Ives, 2001, 180). Since Ives composed so faithfully about his immediate environment, he may have developed an interest in songs with French text that coincided with his language studies. 1 All four French songs included in his publication 114 Songs are dated around 1901. In fact, there are many historical inaccuracies regarding the dates on his manuscripts. It is generally accepted that the dates refer to the time of publication. In any event, these four songs were probably conceived around 1898 and published later (Ives, 2001, 173). 21
Most Ives experts are quick to consider his American training the basis for his so-called American style. J. Peter Burkholder, a renowned Ives scholar, describes the significance of the separation of Ives and Europe: Ivess place in the modernist pantheon as an early unrecognized prophet working in a vacuum was fortuitous, since it filled an uncomfortable gap. From the perspective of post-World War I America, American music needed a distinctly American hero who came out of the nineteenth century. An Authentic American precursor would legitimate Americas arrival in the twentieth century as a cultural equal to Europe Ives had not been trained in Europe. His work was unmistakably modern and tied to American life (Burkholder, 1996, 39). It is at Yale, however, that Ives also formalized his ideas about French song. While Ives considered the suggestion that he go to Europe for further study silly (Burkholder, 1996, 412), he gained insight into the qualities that make up the French art song. He also combined this insight with his own compositional skills for the Four French Songs and, as will be shown, for setting other English text pieces later in life. The compositional style of Ives was influenced by his early musical environment and his training. His father enjoyed playing the music of Franck among other composers, and Charles admitted that he appreciated his fathers taste. Charles played popular organ pieces that included those of French composers. He used French ideas in pre-Yale exercises and studied French art song with Horatio Parker. In his studies at Yale, he likely heard French art song. The reason he wrote French songs in the French art song style is due to a school composition assignment. As a young adult, Ives composed in the French art song style. 22
Chapter Four Four French Songs by Charles Ives Charles Ives, often called the Father of American music (Rossiter, 1975, 301), experimented with sounds and also text. His favorite poets were Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, but he set other words as well, including four French texts. The question here is whether Ives set the French texts in a stylistic environment, or if he merely embellished an American piece with French text. Before exploring the music, a short synopsis of the typical French song traits will be helpful. A most prominent trait in French art song is the importance of text over music, with emphasis on melody over harmony or form. Melodies are generally syllabic with special care given to vocal rhythms that relate to the spoken language, contour as it describes the text, and melodic interval function (tritones in particular) within a smooth vocal line of limited range. Other features include an accompanimental texture that is accessible for the amateur, weak opening harmonies, parallelisms particularly of ninth and eleventh chords, whole tone and chromatic scales, major/minor mode exchanges and a classical form structure. Each of the four French songs written by Ives illustrates in some way his conception of French song and his method of reproducing the art song style. We begin with the first French song (No. 76 of his 114 Songs). 23
I. Quil mirait bien Quil mirait bien, ce ruban vert! Ce soir la fte a plus dune coquette le coeur battrait moins fier, Ain-si ta voix chrie exprimait un naf dsir: Le voil douce ami, lamour veut te loffrir. Aux tresses de tes beaux cheveux que ce rseau senlace, quil brille plein degrce; partout je le suivrai des yeux. Dans cette foule immense je suis perdu pour toi! Symbole desperance, fais la rver moi! As it suits me well, this green ribbon! This evening at the party, has a prettier heart every beat less proud, Thus, your dear voice expressed a nave desire: There gentle love (term of endearment for the woman), love wants to offer it to you. At the tresses of your beautiful hair which this network enlaces, As it shines full of grace; Everywhere I follow it with my eyes. In this immense crowd I am lost for you! Symbol of hope, make her dream of me! English Translation by Jennifer Talbott, B.A. French Studies The first song, Quil mirait bien, was dated 1901 but probably written earlier (Ives habitually wrote several versions of each piece before ascribing a date). It is a strophic piece with a two-measure introduction and eight-measure interlude set to four four-line stanzas. The tempo is Allegretto vivace; the meter is 2/4. Ives employed several traits that depict the French art song style. Melodic tritones, compound intervals, chromatic relationships, single pitch modulation, and a dramatic contour suggest the style. The setting of the text confirms it with emphasis on important words and musical tension where appropriate. The tritone is a prominent feature in this piece. Quil mirait bien begins with the pitches Db to G natural in the left hand of the piano. The singer begins with an upper neighbor Bb a tritone away from the inner voice, E natural, as shown in Example 12. 24
&&?bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb424242 j 3 r n .J n Quil mirait bien, ce ru ban vert! EXAMPLE 12. Quil mirait bien, mm. 1 2. As the first phrase ends (m. 8), the cadential placement of the melody highlights the leap from Gb to C natural as shown in Example 13. The open perfect fifth from Db to Gb that precedes the tritone leaps creates a calm effect that further accents the tension of the tritone. &&?bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb424242 J J nj nn n j .J n nn n plus du ne co quet te EXAMPLE 13. Quil mirait bien, mm. 7-8. 25
The tritone is also a structural factor on a larger scale. In the transition from the interlude to verse two beginning at m. 19, the first pitch of a descending pattern is Bb. Four measures later, an ascent begins on a strong beat on E, the third of a C chord (V 7 in F). This C chord (m. 23, b. 1) begins the second half of the forty-four measure song and separates the two Gb major areas by a tritone. The progression of the Gb-C-Gb describes the sections of the song and the local melodic tritone of Example 13. Ives demonstrates knowledge of the extended chord trait in the French art song style. Within the twenty chord interlude, there are only four chords without an added 7 th 9 th or 11 th (mm. 19-28). These chords, in conjunction with the dynamic marking poco a poco crescendo, heighten the tension that is released with the familiar tune from verse one (albeit with new text) at measure twenty-nine. Local and long-range chromatic neighbor movements dominate this song, as shown in Example 14. A chromatic descending neighbor pattern in the bass line of the accompaniment (mm. 7 ) precedes a similar ascending pattern in the succeeding two measures. &&?bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb424242 J J nj nn n j .J n nn nJ j n nnbn J J j n nnbn plus du ne co quette le coeur battrait moins fier, Ain EXAMPLE 14. Quil mirait bien, mm. 7 10). 26
The prominent melodic tritones in the same measures arrive by structural pitches one half step away. Later, in the interlude (m. 23), the top voice rises by five successive half steps to add tension at the beginning of the ascending line. A foreshadowing of the chromatic tonal structure occurs at measure seven. There is a chromatic departure from the key of Gb in the bass line that eventually leads to F. Movement in the accompaniment is in parallel octaves a third away from the bass while the melody includes a parallel fifth plus the tritone. The A minor chord used aside the Gb 6 in the accompaniment functions as a chromatic neighbor embellishment of the I 6 (Bb-A-Bb). The actual tonal scheme, Gb F Gb, is a third away from the neighbor group of measure seven. The new sonority of F changes the previous mode from major to minor with a root position minor tonic chord in the accompaniment and a triadic outline in the melody (m. 14). The F minor key quickly returns to its neighbor, Gb, in similar fashion to the resolution of the chromatic lower neighbor A in measures six and seven. A German sixth chord in F minor (m. 15, b. 1) also serves as a dominant seventh in Gb major. Ives used a single melodic pitch, C, plus a chromatic neighbor to modulate from Gb to F minor. In measure nine, the melodic C (m. 8, b. 2) resolves unexpectedly down to Bb on important words coeur (heart) and, in measure ten, fier (proud). The melody descends to Gb and changes direction to reach Cb (m.11). This Cb is another chromatic neighbor embellishment that returns to C (m. 13) on the downbeat of the next measure as the fifth of a new root position tonic in F. 27
In the interlude, a four and a half measure stepwise descent precedes an equally dramatic ascent. The significant contour of this passage begins with a long decline, a pattern of descending thirds and fourths over open fifths that moves to E natural, the third of the C7 chord (m. 23). The highest pitch is a Bb, a tritone away from the goal of E. Sevenths, ninths and eleventh chords sequence in a move from G minor to Gb major. Above this, the melodic E begins a chromatic ascent followed by a six note scale from Ab to F, the leading tone in the return to Gb. The few changes we hear in the second verse of this song are worth noting because they reflect textual treatment. The triplet figure in the first beat of the melody changes into two other forms. Each figure accents, albeit slightly, the first, second or third sixteenth note of the triplet. The change of two eighth notes to a dotted eighth and sixteenth means the vocalist may take a breath in the second verse. Detached sixteenths (m. 35) vary from the accented and slurred melodic rendering of the word heart (m. 9). A change from the detached sixteenth notes to a slurred, beamed sixteenth pattern (m. 39) emphasizes the point of the story, je suis perdu pour toi (I am lost in you). In the reprise, the important word lost is made into an emphatic place of tension as the melody rises from the E natural to F natural. Here (m. 39), the F is the leading tone in the Gb sonority which, appropriately to the text, resolves to the tritone of tonic (C natural) as if really lost. 28
II. Elgie O, doux printemps dautre fois, vertes saisons, Vous avez fui pour toujours! Je ne vois plus le ciel bleu je nentends plus les chants joyeux des oiseaux! En emportant mon bonheur, O bien am tu ten es alle! Et cest en vain, que le printemps revient; Oui, sans retour avec toi le gai soleil Les jours riants sont partis! Comme en mon coeur tout est sombre et glac! Tout est fltri! Pour toujours! O sweet springtimes of old verdant seasons You have fled forever I no longer see the blue sky I no longer hear the bird's joyful singing And, taking my happiness with you You have gone on your way my love! In vain Spring returns Yes, never to return The bright sun has gone with you The days of happiness have fled How gloomy and cold is my heart All is withered Forever Translated to English by Anne Evans Louis Gallet (1835-1898) was not one of the well-known poets in Paris in the late nineteenth century. Jules Massenet (1842 ), however, set his song, Elgie, to Gallets text. Massenet used other texts by this poet for songs and choral works. Given Massenets popularity and his inclusion in Parkers curriculum of the art song (see Chapter 2), it is more likely that Ives discovered this particular text in the music of Massenet rather than in a French poetry book of little known writers. Ives's text source 29
for his second French Song was probably the setting published as a separate song sheet in 1875 and issued in the United States by G. Schirmer. 1 The predominant theme in the texts of French art song is that of the lost love. This text, including the ending phrase Tout et fltri pour toujours (All is withered forever), is unquestionably in that category. One might expect a composer to use a minor mode to convey the sadness, but Ives wrote his piece in F major. In several places the mode-identifying interval, the third above tonic, is emphasized. The A returns in significant places, but enters the triad separately in the introduction. With twice the metric value of the F and C, the A completes the triadic pedal that lasts for twelve measures. Again using a classical A-B-A structure, Ives created another song in the French style. French art song traits appear in crucial areas. The whole tone French sixth chord leads into the B section (m. 26). A dominant ninth chord is part of the climactic phrase about loss (m. 42). Chromatic pitches appear in important areas as well. In measure thirteen the bass line moves by half step from a previously static bass line. The melody rises one half step from the Eb to E to announce the B section (m. 29). At the end of measure thirty-eight, the F# and Fb meet at F natural on the following downbeat in the D minor tonal area. The G# added to the dominant (m. 42) creates a pull to the A, the third of the final chord. The treatment of melody and text is what makes the French style most apparent in this piece. The singer has long, melodic phrases. The phrases are singable, because they 1 The song sheet is included in a collection Jules Massenet. Vocal Album. Thirty-Nine Songs with Piano Accompaniment, 2 vols. New York, 1884, vol. 1, pp. 10-11. 30
repeat at a small interval (the descending third). There is much linear motion in the melodic contour of ascending and descending lines that describes the text. Again we see the ambiguity of the melodic entrance on an interval a M7th from the bass with resolution at the downbeat of measure eight. The melodic A keeps the singer away from the resolution of a perfect authentic cadence. A modulation technique reflects the text in this song. At the point (m. 20) where the vocalist declares je nentends plus (I do not hear), the key abruptly changes from Bb to Gb. This follows twelve measures of F major and then nine measures in a closely related Bb (mm. 12 20). The B section begins with the familiar F triad but quickly strays into a succession of secondary harmonies from Ab that depicts the text regarding the vanity of the returning Spring. A quick modulation a tritone away from Gb to D, as shown in Example 15, ends with a deceptive resolution in measure forty (b.3). &?bb2424 o wwww ww ww iVI Example 15. Elegie, mm. 39-40. Melodic shape supports the text. The majority of songs in 114 Songs are within a one-octave vocal range. Elgie has a vocal range of a thirteenth. The vocalist ascends by skips and descends by step. This motion continues to a moment of grand height. At 31
measure forty-two, the singer loudly proclaims that the Les jours riants sont partis (The smiling days are ended). Tension dissolves into repose as the vocalist descends by step to end on the fifth of the tonic chord. The form here is A-B-A with a middle section that expands the motive from the A section much like the development of a sonata. Repetition, sequence and rhythmic variation of the descending third motive in the first section sets the B section apart. All three sections begin with the singer circling the tonic and continuing phrase one with an ascent to the fifth and subsequent descent to rest on the third of tonic. Though it was already established that the lover has fled, the B section begins with tu ten es alle (you have gone) as if it were a new idea to be stated in a separate verse. III. Chanson de Florian Ah! s'il est dans votre village Un berger sensible, sensible et charmant, Qu'on chrisse au premier moment, Qu'on aime ensuite d'avantage, Ah! C'est mon ami, rendez-le-moi; J'ai son amour, il a ma foi! Si, passant prs de sa chaumire, Le pauvre, en voyant son troupeau, Ose demander un agneau Et qu'il obtienne encor la mre C'est bien lui: rendez-la-moi; [J'ai son amour, il a ma foi!] 1 Si par sa voix [tendre, plaintive] 2 Il charme l'cho de vos bois, Si les accents de son hautbois, Rendent la bergre pensive C'est encor lui: rendez-le-moi. J'ai son amour, il a ma foi! Ah! If it is in your village A sensible shepherd, sensible and charming, That one cherishes from the first moment, That one loves afterwards even more, Ah! Its my friend, return him to me; I have his love, he has my faith! 32
If, passing near his cottage, The poor thing, in seeing his herd, Dares to ask a sheep And as he again obtains the mother It is well him: return him to me; I have his love, he has my faith! If by his voice [tender, doleful] He charms the echo of your trees, If the accents of his oboe, Render the shepherd (female) thoughtful Again, it is him: return him to me. I have his love, he has my faith! text by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian (1755-1794) English Translation by Jennifer Talbott, B.A. French Studies Chanson de Florian characterizes French art song style in several prominent ways. As shown in Example 16, a subtle G# minor five note scale pattern nests within B major (mm. 9 ). &?##########8383 o j j J J EXAMPLE 16. "Chanson de Florian," mm. 3-4. The duality of modes that occurs early in this song is typical of the style. A four measure introduction conveys the G# minor sonority with an open fifth of G# -D# to an octave root at the end of each measure. Confirmation comes in measures three and four with a five note scale from G# in the right hand of the piano. Emphasis is on the minor mode with the melodic entrance on a minor third of the G# triad while the eighth note tie gives this pitch twice the value of the surrounding notes. The pivot chord in measure 33
seven is an A# half diminished seventh chord, the ii in G# minor and the vii in B major. The resolution to the F# dominant and B major (m. 9) provides confirmation of the modulation to B major. Interestingly, the G# ascending scale pattern returns in that measure. This subtle addition of the previous G# pattern at this obvious cadence in B Major is characteristic of the modal duality in the French style. Integration of the text and melody is evident from the beginning. This poem is significantly brighter and more light-hearted than the previous two songs. Particularly descriptive words receive contextual treatment (mm. 12-15). The lyrical minor third descent on charmant supplies a vocal picture of the charming shepherd. Beautiful as the melody is here, the repetition of the word charmant confirms a relaxed setting. It would be musically logical and expected for the descriptor to begin on beat three as an anacrusis to measure fourteen. Instead, the term charmant begins on the second half of beat three (m. 13) and is on the final sixteenth note of the measure. This shortened duration at such a quick pace suggests the casual style of the salon song. The less formal setting reflects the nature of the text. The second phrase (mm. 16-32) contains a prominent chromatic descent in the top voice of the piano. The line descends from A natural and holds at C# (m. 26, b.3 +). The G# in the right hand (m. 16) begins another chromatic descent but starts a half step lower than the pitch of the top voice. The left hand of the piano continues the second scale degree C# (m. 29 ff.) to delay the resolution to tonic B until measure thirty-nine, the end of the A section. 34
Additionally, the scherzo rhythm with a faithful and cherished text is reminiscent of the way Chabrier and others blended the popularity of the salon song with the art song. It is singable and, though the range exceeds a tenth, it is well within amateur reach. Recitative in long phrases is again the style for the text with a strong ascending line to the melodic climax (m. 25). Another striking feature of this melody is the delayed resolution within an A-B-A format. Upon first hearing, one might expect the G# of the word charmant (m. 14) to resolve to tonic B (with either an F# or an A# in between). However, at measure fifteen, the melody descends to phrase two without the tonic and builds a foundation for the climax of the section. The harmony supports this descent which is a syllabic treatment of text. As the ascent reaches its peak on a D natural (m. 25) with the words Cest mon ami (this is my friend), the bass figure in the piano reverses the direction on this same pitch with dynamic accents. This is significant, because the D natural is the tritone on this G# minor scale pattern of the descending bass (mm. 25-6). In section B, an ascending D# to G# (m. 47) completes the original G# to D# scale. The demanding action of the shepherd, the introduction of the lamb, the emotion of how good it is for him, and the final wish for his return are all marked by the same D# G# scale motive. These patterns stand out even more above the chromatic harmonic movement in the accompaniment. 35
IV Rosamunde Jattends, helas! dans la douleur pleurant ta longue absence; reviens, reviens; sans ta prsence, pour moi plus de bonheur! En vain fleurit le doux printemps tout fier de sa parure: rien ne me plait dans la nature. Mon Dieu! que jai pleur long temps Pourtant sil ne plus venir? Mon Dieu! toi que jimplore! Eh bien! la tombe peut encore an moins nous runir. I wait, alas! crying in pain over your long absence; come back, come back; without your presence, without happiness for me In vain blooms the sweet spring proud of the scenery nothing displeases please me in nature. My God! I have cried a long time Nevertheless is there not more to come? My God! I implore you! Well!at least the grave can again reunite us. Rosamunde is the last of four French Songs written by Charles Ives in his collection 114 Songs. The tonal center is G with a mode change prior to the close of the first section. A three note stepwise ascending pattern in the right hand of the piano followed by neighbor tones initiates the fluid linear motion of this song. Key features of this song are: mode changes, chromaticism that connects phrases, dramatic lines in the B section, and classical structure. The long phrases of the melody coupled with a combination of chromaticisms and mode changes infer the French style. The melody begins on the fifth of tonic and arrives at tonic on weak beats, over inverted harmonies and over borrowed chords. It is not until the end of the phrase, however, that the melody and harmony meet at tonic. The classic A-B-A form is a stable environment for the melody and accompaniment. The melody provides clues to the key center but avoids tonic until the end of the section, consistent with the French art song style. Beginning on the fifth, D, stepwise 36
motion precedes a leap to the mode-defining third, B, which is further emphasized by duration (see Example 17). &&?###898989 j j J J J . j j J J J . j j J J J Jat tends he-las! ------EXAMPLE 17. Rosamunde, mm. 1 3. A false sequence follows with the same stepwise motion and neighbor motives in long phrases of limited range. The second phrase(m. 7) emphasizes the neighbor pattern and ends with the major triad which contrasts the Bb mode change (m. 9) just prior to the arrival of tonic. An ascending pattern in the right hand of the piano from measure one repeats three times. In the following two measures, there is a chromatic ascent from F# to C in the top line of the piano with a chromatic descent in the left hand (E, D#, D). The chromatic forces meet in the middle of each line (A for the right hand, D# for the left hand), creating a tritone dissonance (m. 6, b. 2). The contrary chromatic motion with the tritone emphasizes the despair in the text over the longue absence. The chromaticism here increases tension and continues motion to lead into the return of the neighbor pattern in the B theme (m. 7). 37
The stepwise motion continues in the B section (mm. 11-20) beginning on E and building to an octave above at the climax (m. 18, b. 1). The sequencing pattern builds the tension to the Eb, a half step lower than the goal. Immediately following the repeat of this pitch (m. 16), a descending line suggests a phrase ending. Instead of staying on the new tonic, Gb (m. 17, b. 6), the singer performs a minor 7 th leap. This dramatic jump creates the tension that resolves with a descending line that arpeggiates a diminished chord to end on D, the opening melodic pitch from measure two. From this point, the A section repeats but with new lyrics. Perfect fourths are significant in this piece with alternating major and minor tonics. The fourth scale degree, C, adds color to the opening chord. This tonic chord with added fourth repeats until the augmented subdominant occurs at measure five. The final cadence in this section (and at the end of the song) is plagal. In section B, the melody ascends in stepwise patterns, ranging a perfect fourth to peak at an Fb (m. 18). Beneath the melodic rise, the tonal center moves a fourth from Gb to Cb (m. 16, bb. 2-3). The syllabic text is given attention to detail. The duplet figure (mm. 4, 6 and 22-24) extends time melodically for the longue absence and toi que jimplore (I implore you). Fermatas emphasize the jai pleur long temps (long time I have cried). Obvious cadence points confirm the A-B-A form. The A section ends at measure ten on a IVI cadence with a meter change. Eighth note rests succeeding a long phrase in the A section signals a change in thought. Section B begins (m.11) with the repetition of the final four chords of section A but with melodic change. There is an ascending line from E (m. 11) to a climax point (m. 18). The contour of the subsequent steep descent 38
dramatizes the end of the B section. The singer remains on the final pitch of the descent, D, until the pianist plays the introductory material in the return of the A section. The assignment from Parker was to reproduce the French song style. These songs reveal Ivess ability to use the French art song style. The main characteristics of each of these Four French songs indicate that Ives reproduced his songs in the style of the late nineteenth century French composers. Quil mirait bien features ninth chords, major/minor modal changes, melodic delay of a tonic resolution in the A section, a chromatic half step modulation, a contour that describes text, text emphasis on key words, and a structural as well as melodic use of the tritone. In Elgie, one finds major/minor mode changes, contour that describes text, structural ninth chords, whole tone patterns, tritone significance, a chromatic bass line, long and singable phrases, classical A-B-A form, and the delay of a melodic resolution to tonic. Similarly, Chanson de Florian contains mode changes, melodic delay of tonic resolution, syllabic verses, text emphasis for key words, significant chromatic lines, long phrases singable for amateurs, a tritone emphasis in the melody, and A-B-A form. Finally, Rosamunde is similar in style in that one finds an avoidance of tonic in the melody until end of the section, chromatic lines to emphasize tension, classical A-B-A form, long phrases, and a dramatic contour of ascending and descending lines in the B section. 39
Chapter Five French Idioms in American Songs In Ivess Four French Songs, we find specific character traits from the traditional French art song style of the late eighteenth century. In this chapter, the addition of some of these elements to some of his American songs will be explored. In the collection 114 Songs, many American songs contain traits, such as melodic tritones or chromatic lines, also found in the French art song style. Additionally though, certain American songs contain characteristics and thematic materials that directly relate to specific French art songs. The three comparisons for this study are: Beau Soir (Debussy) and Natures Way (Ives), Nocturne (Franck) and No. 12 (Ives), and Nanny (Massenet) and The Housatonic at Stockbridge (Ives). Beau Soir/Natures Way Claude Debussy wrote Beau Soir in 1883 at the age of twenty while still attending the Paris Conservatoire. Unlike other French composers of the time, Debussy chose the area poets as his comrades. Paul Borget, the author of this text, was among them. Beau Soir was one of the most popular songs of Debussys early period and is still one of the most performed pieces in the repertory of the French art song. The text for Beau Soir is a typical scenario for Debussy with its description of Nature and is an exhortation to be happy in the moment. 40
When the rivers are rosy in the setting sun, and a mild tremor runs over the cornfields, an exhortation to be happy seems to emanate from things and rises towards the troubled heart. An exhortation to enjoy the charm of being alive while one is young and the evening is beautiful, for we go away, as this stream goes; the stream to the sea, we to the tomb. Translation Bernac, 1970, 156 In Beau Soir, Debussy features beautiful arpeggiations and borrowed harmonies. Indicative of the art song style, Debussys melody begins not on the tonic E but on the third, G#, reaching tonic only at the end of the phrase (m. 11). The first subphrase reaches its goal chromatically with a half-step from the opening G# to A (m. 6) which prepares the listener for the chromatic movement in the melodic climax three measures later. The climax for this section, shown in Example 18, begins on a half note and rises two half steps before a descending skip of a fourth. ###43 n n n ro ses, Et quun tie de fris on court sur les champs de EXAMPLE 18. Beau Soir, mm. 8-10. It takes five beats to complete this musical idea, three on the first pitch and two on the subsequent three pitches. A C major chord adds color and a third relation to the closing of the main phrase of the text, shown in Example 19, with a melodic anticipation of tonic in measure ten. This unexpected C major chord within E major provides the support that resolves to a tonic repose in measure twelve. 41
&&?############434343 3 3 R 3 3 n n 3 3 R n3 n n n 3 n 3 3 R n3 n n n 3 n 3 3 R 3 Et quun tie de frison court sur les champs de ble. EXAMPLE 19, Beau Soir, mm. 9 12. This piece is within a singable range of the amateur provided the singer can manage the long phrases. The most demanding area is the ascent from D to F# a tenth higher from measure twenty-five to twenty-six. Harmonically, the tonal scheme for the song moves from E major to F# major/minor and returns to E major. The continual return to tonic provides harmonic stability while the arpeggiated pattern simplifies the accompaniment for the pianist. Ives made several comments about Debussys music in his Essays Before a Sonata indicating at least some familiarity with the Frenchmans work. Most of the comments were not complimentary, but that is irrelevant here. Two elements that Ives disliked are worth noting, because he used those same idioms in several of his works. He called arpeggiations, such as those found in Beau Soir, feminine and labeled the parallel ninth and eleventh chords that are prevalent in Debussys music sentimental 42
and deadening. He further described the compound intervals, Those once transcendent progressions, luxuriant suggestions of Debussy chords of the 9th, 11th, etc., were becoming slimy (Ives, 2001, 45). The comments by Ives indicate a relation to no specific song by Debussy but confirm a familiarity with his music. Upon comparison with the short song Natures Way by Ives, however, it seems likely that Ives was influenced by the text setting of Debussys popular Beau Soir. Natures Way shares many of the ideas found in phrase one of Beau Soir. An arpeggiated pattern simplifies the accompaniment for the pianist within a tonally stable environment. In this arpeggiated pattern, triad members arrive in the same order as those in Beau Soir. SONG TITLE Beau Soir Natures Way KEY E major F major DYNAMIC SETTING pp piu pp p pp ppp NUMBER OF MEASURES 12 in first phrase 12 plus extensions ACCOMPANIMENT SCALE PATTERN FOR TONIC 1-5-3-5-1-5 (see m. 1) 1-5-3-5-1-5 (see m. 1) PIANO PATTERN L to R hand consistently L to R hand until m. 15 HARMONIC RHYTHM 1 chord per measure generally 1 chord per measure MELODIC GOAL mi-fa-sol (mm. 1-3) mi-fa-sol (mm. 1-4) MELODIC CLIMAX uses 3,4,5,0 set just beyond midpoint of phrase uses 3,4,5,0 set just beyond midpoint of song MELODIC RANGE 10 TH 10 TH METER MELODIC ENTRANCE third of tonic key third of tonic key TABLE 1. Beau Soir/ Natures Way, similarities. 43
The melody enters on the third of the tonic chord and, as in Debussys song, ends the first subphrase (m. 4, b. 2) a half-step from the opening. The melodic climax begins at measure nine with the highest pitch, F, and moves to the same thematic material (m. 11) that Debussy used in Beau Soir (mm. 9-10). This similarity begins on a half note and rises two half steps before a descending skip of a fourth. As Example 20 shows, it takes seven beats to complete this musical idea; the first pitch, C, receives four of the beats (mm. 10-11), and the following three pitches take three beats. &b43 J J #J .J #r ess ing; When the stars with ra diance gaze EXAMPLE 20. Natures Way, mm. 10 14. Also like Beau Soir, an amateur can perform the range but must be able to control the breathing for the long phrases. There is one demanding leap, D F (a tenth), from measures nine to ten. Finally, the text, written by Ives, describes the sleeping flowers, a poetic symbolism for death, beneath the calm evening stars. As the song says, Nature gives strength to mans soul, a transcendental idea common for Ives 1 and typically akin to the power of Nature for Debussy. Nocturne/ Franck used an enharmonic tonal scheme with mode change for his Nocturne. This strophic piece begins in D# minor and concludes in Eb major. Secondary chords 1 Ives wrote several song texts that are identified in the index to the collection 114 Songs. 44
progress as expected in the final verse in Eb, a marked difference from the ambiguous progressions of the previous verses. Franck used a slow tempo, pianissimo volume, and a rallentando marking at the end. Key features of this song are: ambiguous chromatic introduction, singable melody independent of the accompaniment, a theme derived by descending thirds, secondary theme of ascending thirds coupled with a descending line, and polyphonic inner voices. Franck employed a tonally ambiguous chromatic introduction, another common feature in French art song that places emphasis on a tonal melody. The ambiguous introductory material repeats between each of the first three verses. A dominant seventh chord (m. 37) precedes the final verse, marking it as different from the others. The melody is easily singable independent of the accompaniment until the final verse when the harmony closely supports the melody. The chromatic movement of the inner voices, the plethora of diminished and secondary chords, and the fast harmonic rhythm provide little melodic support. In verse four, however, the chords are more diatonic and the harmonic rhythm is slower. Through the beginning three verses of Nocturne, the first measure of the theme contains a single, repeated pitch a fifth above the bass. In the climactic verse (m. 38), the main theme starts on the fifth of the tonic but, unlike the other verses, moves on beat three. This unexpected move descends by step through a passing tone to a consonant pitch, G, a fifth above the bass and a third from the first pitch. The next step is a striking leap of a sixth to a false sequence of the preceding measure which resolves to a consonant tone, F, again a fifth above the bass. 45
The final seven measures express the tonic key as well as the linear third movement of the melody. In this section, the melodic 5-4-3 descent (m. 42) foreshadows the descending line from five to one in the tonic key. The first structural pitch after the sequence is the C in measure forty-three that ascends a minor third to Eb (m. 44, b. 1). The next move is a major third away to Cb (m. 45) which descends one half step to begin a 5-1 descent from Bb (m.46) to Eb tonic. The accompaniment contains polyphonic materials after the statement of the theme. As shown in Example 21, the melody initiates a pattern that descends by step from the Bb melodic resolution to the right hand of the piano (mm.41). &&?bbbbbbbbbccc J j j j j nn w wqui tout est de lici eux EXAMPLE 21. Nocturne, mm. 40 This interaction between the melody and the accompaniment occurs only in the final verse. The pattern resulting from the interaction is a descending fourth (m. 41) followed by a descending third two measures later. Additional interaction occurs at the penultimate melodic measure. Two voices ascend with the melody, a third and a fifth away before fading into the final melodic pitch. The accompaniment contains a harmonic 46
rhythm of four chords per measure until the final verse begins (m. 38) where the rhythm changes to two chords per measure. Ivess short song contains several characteristics that Franck used particularly in the final verse of his Nocturne. Both pieces are marked slowly and have dynamic markings of pianissimo. Both composers utilized rallentando, although the standard French art song concludes without ritard. Ives incorporates quintal harmony as an ambiguous introduction. This piece should not be construed as atonal, however. The melody alone carries a strong tonal center from the beginning B (over a G in the bass). The ensuing descent through A to G, consequently, sounds like tonic. The pitch A at the end of phrase one (m. 4) confirms the tonal area of G with its half cadence implication. Additionally, a contrapuntal voice joins the singer in a tonal pattern, first with the 5-4-3 in G (m. 3). Three measures later, this voice, a third below the melody, suggests the G tonal area with a 4-3-2 descent. It does not reach the but diverts to the deceptive E. In conjunction with the melody, this secondary voice confirms that G is the expected of the song. Ives used a theme closely related to Francks final verse. The singable melody begins with an anacrusis to a consonant third above the bass. As occurs in Nocturne, the melodic line descends by step through a passing tone to a consonant pitch, again a third above the bass (E in the piano at the end of measure two). The next step is the leap of a fifth (Franck used a sixth) to a false sequence of the preceding measure. Passing tones again resolve to a consonant tone. The accompaniment contains polyphonic materials in the inner voices, as occurs in Nocturne, after the statement of the theme. Ivess version is shown in Example 22. 47
&&cc w wsound of a dis tant horn, &?cc .# n .j # # b... # #.. EXAMPLE 22. 12, mm. 3 5. This pattern repeats in the next measure. The inner stepwise motion returns with the highest melodic pitch (m.6). In the imitative two measure theme, the opening intervallic distance from the melody is a third, and, in the next measure, a fifth from the melody. This again is similar to Francks treatment of the inner voice. The resulting pattern descends a third and, in the sequential phrase, a fourth. The inner voice changes at the final melodic pitch from a separate descending line (m. 7) into a part of the ending harmony. Ives ended with a whole tone chord that moves chromatically to a pentatonic chord. This leads to a sustained B half-diminished seventh chord with an added C# to F# deceptive complement to the melodic A, as shown in Example 23. EXAMPLE 23. , m.8. 48
In relation to harmonic rhythm, the previous quintal harmonies in the accompaniment were of equal time span, one set per measure. Nanny/The Housatonic at Stockbridge The final songs for comparison in this study are Nanny (1880) by Jules Massenet and Ivess The Housatonic at Stockbridge (1921). Included in the French art song repertoire of Parkers curriculum were songs by Massenet. During Ives years at Yale, Massenet was the most prominent, successful, and prolific composer teacher at the Paris Conservatoire. It is possible that Nanny was studied, because it was written as a blending of art song and salon song for marketing to the public and was published as a separate song sheet. It is my intent to show that Ives shared ideas with Massenet as he did with Debussy and Franck. In relating The Housatonic at Stockbridge with Nanny, however, the shared idea is a specific theme. The texts, though written in separate languages, are nearly identical. There are obvious correlations between the two texts. Whether forest or river, each speaks of a source of life under the eye of God. Each conveys a sadness of loss as someone leaves. The ground itself cries in one song and hides the secret in the other. A comparison of each word is unnecessary here; they are the words of poets and not the composers. It is the choice that Ives made that is significant, because it so closely resembles that of Massenet. Following the original French text are the statements of Massenets poem by de Lisle set aside several similar ideas of those (in italics) used by Ives (Robert Underwood Johnson). 49
Bois chers aux ramiers, pleurez, doux feuillages, Et toi, source vive, et vous, frais sentiers, Pleurez, o bruyres savages, Buissons de houx et dglantiers. Printemps, roi fleuri de la verte anne, O jeune Dieu, pleure! Et mrisant, coupe ta tresse couronn, Et pleure, Autmne rougisant. Langoisse daimer brise un coeur fidle. Terre et ciel, pleurez! Oh! Que je laimais! Cher pays, ne parle plus delle, Nanny ne reviendra jamais! Dear wood with the woodpigeons, cry, soft foliages, 2 *Contented river And you, source of life, and you, fresh paths, Cry, O brutal savages, Bushes of dew and wild roses. *in thy dreamy realm Spring, flowered king of the green year, *The cloudy willow and the plumy elm: O young God, cry! *Thou beautiful, From every dreamy hill what eye but wanders with thee at thy will, Dying summer, cut your crowned braid, *And yet overshy To mask thy beauty from the eager eye: And the red autumn cries *Ah, theres a restive ripple, and the swift red leaves Septembers firstlings faster driftWouldst thou away, dear stream? The anguish of love bruises a faithful heart. *Hast thou a thought to hide from field and town? Ground and sky, cry! *In some deep current of the sunlit brown Oh! That I liked it! .. Dear country, does not speak of it any more *Come, whisper near! I also of much resting have a fear: Nanny will never return! *Let me tomorrow thy companion be, By fall and shallow to the adventurous sea! *Ives text. 2 In the notes for performance in his 114 Songs, Ives states that the right hand of the piano was intended to sound as strings as a kind of distant background of mists seen through the trees or over a river valley. 50
Ives knew and used French art song traits as evident from the Four French Songs by Ives and from his settings of Natures Way and . The question is whether or not Ives used any specific motivic ideas of the French masters. In this comparison, I will demonstrate that Ives used the same unusual and climactic phrase that Massenet used in Nanny. The form in Nanny is A-B-A with a tempo change marking the B section. A reiteration of thematic material defines the return of A. After a two-measure introduction, section A contains twelve measures as does section B. There is a two measure extension in the middle of the return of A (mm. 33-4). This two-measure phrase expresses an exclamation only (Oh! Que je lamais!). This is different than the rest of the text that speaks to heaven and earth to cry for the sadness of the one who lost Nanny. Nanny is two measures longer than The Housatonic at Stockbridge. This mid-section extension contains a distinguishable descent in a pattern that Ives duplicates. The pattern of descending intervals, as shown in Example 24, is a major triad, a minor second and, again, a minor second. ###43 nJ J nJ #j Oh! que je lai me! ----------------------EXAMPLE 24. Nanny, mm. 33. Rhythmically, the dotted quarter creates the framework for the descent that passes through eighth notes to rest on the bottom pitch of the line. The duration of the final melodic pitch is a half note plus an eighth. 51
Tritones in the French art song style often convey tension in the text. The final pitch in the phrase, A#, is a tritone away from the bass note, E, and non-diatonic to E major. This tritone placement expresses the anguish as the lover cries out for his Nanny. The final pitch is the root of a diminished seventh chord in second inversion. The two-measure phrase immediately follows the reference to the crying of heaven and earth for the never returning Nanny. Ives used the same phrase and placed it in the appropriate setting. At measure twenty-eight of The Housatonic at Stockbridge, Ives started his long phrase with a B followed by elaborative pitches D to C# that return to B. From that B at the downbeat of measure twenty-nine (see Example 25), the pattern of descending intervals is a major triad, a minor second and a diminished unison (the same half step pattern as in Nanny). &46 J j #j j #j n j cur rent of the sun lit brown............ EXAMPLE 25. The Housatonic at Stockbridge, m. 29. Rhythmically, the phrase starts on the B in the previous measure. The starting pitch, B, receives three eighth note values. The descent passes through eighth notes and rests on the last word of the line for the duration of a half note plus an eighth, again the same pattern as Nanny. Aside from the C# pedal throughout the section, this phrase ends with the melodic D a tritone away from the bass note, G#. Within the C# tonal reference, the D is a 52
chromatic pitch. The textual reference poetically speaks of the earth in this nature song (deep current of the sunlit brown). In context, the river is hiding in the earth until it leaves forever to the adventurous sea. With the addition of the F and B on beat five, this chord is enharmonically identical to the closing chord of Massenets phrase. The final pitch is the root of a diminished seventh chord in second inversion (over a pedal). This five-pitch phrase has an unusual melodic line in that it ends on a chromatic pitch, a tritone away from the bass line. The supporting harmonic chord that ends of the phrase is a weak diminished chord. The phrase composed by Ives is the same melodically, rhythmically and contextually as the exclamation in Massenets Nanny. Given the similarities in broad structure and treatment of the climactic text, it is possible that Ives was aware that he was imitating, to some extent, Massenets piece. Whether aware or not, Ives employed a specific French statement within one of his American songs. 53
Chapter Six Conclusion Charles Ives incorporated the style of the French art song style in his Four French Songs and imitated stylistic traits in some American songs. Ives wrote over one hundred twenty-nine songs. Most scholars, including his best friend and fellow composer Henry Cowell, agree that these songs are American traditions, works about American people and places largely based on our unique folk tunes and spiritual songs. A closer look at the Four French Songs by Ives reveals similarities of style and structure to French art song which include: ninth and eleventh chords, major/minor modal changes, melodic delays of tonic resolution, syllabic verses, chromatic bass lines, chromatic half step modulations, melodies that reflect the text via contour, keyword emphasis, whole tone patterns, long and singable phrases, classical forms, and combinations of structural and melodic tritones. Through his studies with Horatio Parker, Ives discovered the elements of the French art song style. All four French songs by Ives display an understanding of several characteristics within the same style. Ives applied different traits to each song, maintaining the style but giving a distinct flavor to the individual piece. The consistent use of specific characteristics, such as the chromatic line to divide sections and the melodic tritone, demonstrates Ivess understanding of the prominent features of the 54
French art song. Throughout the collection 114 Songs, one finds elements of French art song such as whole tones, as in The Cage, chromatic lines, as in Rough Wind, and arpeggiated accompaniment as in Evidence. Many of the songs in the collection contain individual elements, but it is the combination of several traits that conveys the French art song style. Perhaps the most obvious indications of the style include the structural and melodic use of the tritone with chromatic lines in the melody and accompaniment that lead to the B sections. Parallel ninth chords and whole tone scales are common as well as modal duality and easily recognizable forms. The melody is emphasized with tonal stability over an ambiguous accompaniment, occasional recitatives and tritones that express tension in the text. Ives incorporated a blending of traits in the French art song style with several American songs, including Naught that Country needeth, Like a Sick Eagle, and from The Swimmers. One year after his graduation from Yale University, Ives composed the aria Naught that Country needeth from the cantata, Celestial Country. The introduction ends with an ascending chromatic line in the right hand of the accompaniment that leads to the melodic entrance, a third above the Bb chord (m. 8, b.1). Both elements, the tonal ambiguity of the chromatic line and the melody a third above the root, typify the opening of a French art song. Melodic tritones express the important phrases there is none and Forward into light. Chromatic lines in the bass and the melody (m. 43) transition from the first to the second section. In spite of the harmonic deviations from the original key of Bb, the melody and the accompaniment converge in the final phrase to end on tonic. 55
In 1920, nineteen years after graduation, Ives wrote Like a Sick Eagle. The melody, which begins a tritone above the pedal C in the bass, is almost exclusively chromatic within a range of a minor ninth (C Db). The climax begins the B section with the melody again a tritone away from the bass. This relationship is prominent due to the ensuing contrary chromatic motion that stems from the tritone pitches. The melody descends from the Db chromatically over an ascending chromatic bass line from G. Another function of the melodic descent is to express the main point, the key phrase, of the song. Though this poem refers to a weakness of spirit, this particular descending line in the melody describes the text I must die. Ives set a poem by Yale classmate Louis Untermeyer and entitled it from The Swimmers. Dated 1921, this song still contains several elements from the French art song style. A steady arpeggiation in the bass forms the opening accompaniment. Above a repeated pattern, the right hand of the piano contains an atonal melody that ends on the dyad Eb G. This chord is held until the melody enters a third above, on the pitch G. Immediately, the melody reflects the text with a 32 nd note ninth descent (E D) as the swimmers swiftly plunge. A thirty-four note descent (white note) followed by four chromatic pitches (m. 4) leads to section B. In this climactic section, an ascending chromatic line describes swiftly I rose. Pitting againstcold strife is marked by two melodic tritones. As the swimmers move against the wind, the whole tone scale delays tonality until the repeated melodic G resolves to D over a D major chord in the bass. This piece ends with a tonal repose and a short recitative. 56 Ives wrote these songs not as French pieces, but he used the same traits that were prominent in his Four French Songs. He studied French art songs at Yale and knew other
French music prior to that time. In his Four French Songs, he revealed his understanding of the important characteristics that constitute the French art song style. It is his use of the identical characteristics with the same function in other songs that demonstrates the influence of the French art song style. Certain American songs, as shown in Chapter 5, indicate references to specific French art songs. The final songs in this chapter indicate that Ives continued using these elements in other songs as well. This study revealed specific French art song characteristics used by Ives. The identification of stylistic traits in his Four French Songs suggests that Ives had the ability to imitate the style. Not only did Ives use specific characteristics of the French art song style; he varied them for each song. Though each song refers to a loss, the mood differs. The first song sounds almost happy with its vivace opening. In contrast, the next song in the cycle is slow and mournful. The influence of the salon song shows in the third song with its quick tempo and lilt of slurred speech. The final song combines a lyrical line with chromatic crescendos. Certain factors of the style were found to be consistent in the songs studied here. Ives was an accomplished organist, yet most of his song accompaniments are accessible to the casual pianist. Introductions are often ambiguous tonally and contain patterns that repeat through entire songs. The monotonous support takes little attention from the melody. Tritones, rhythmic augmentations, dynamics, and chromatic elaborations express keywords in the texts. Melodies, usually within a limited range of a tenth or less, are lyrical with long phrases. Chromatic lines function as transitions between sections and are found in the melody or the accompaniment or both. Tonality is often established early in the melody with a mid-section departure and a return toward the end with a resolution that finally blends with the harmony. 57
Ives composed from an American mindset; he did not recognize, or give credit to, outside influences. He conceded no specific influence from the French art song style. Some American songs, however, reveal his experience with that style. Ives painted a musical Americana with recognizable folk melodies and hymns, but he also composed French songs and French-inspired songs. Although he refused to become a nice, copy-cat European (Burkholder, 1996, 237), Ives considered the possibility of additional influences in his Essays for a Sonata: [my] music may have been influenced strongly though subconsciously by a vague remembrance of certain thoughts and feelings, perhaps of a deep religious or spiritual nature, which suddenly came to [me] upon realizing the beauty of the scene (Ives, 2001, 10). In this quote, he referenced subconscious influences. It is possible that Ives transferred French ideas from his childhood home, his work and his school into some American songs. Considering his great respect for his father, Ives likely had a fond subconscious awareness or remembrance of French art song traits that he experienced through the French music his father played. A deeply religious man, he may have had some spiritual inspiration for Natures Way, and The Housatonic at Stockbridge. An investigation of his motivation for composing each of these songs would be an interesting complement to this study. What is shown here is that, whether or not consciously aware, Ives produced songs that contain characteristics and specific ideas of French art song. There are at least fifteen more songs written by Ives that were written after he self-published the collection 114 Songs. Further evidence may be found in those songs. 58 While it is true that Ives portrayed himself as a Danbury composer, his songs reflect a larger persona. Charles Edward Ives, composer of Americanisms such as
Lincoln, the Great Commoner, The Indians, and Charlie Rutlage, wrote songs that reflect his American heritage and incorporated French traits that he heard as a small boy and later studied. His reproduction and continued use of the French art song style illustrates that Ives was more than simply an American composer without outside influence. He was a Connecticut-raised educated man who heard music from beyond the Atlantic Ocean and incorporated some of the techniques in his own songs. The French art song influence in his American songs indicates that he may have perceived himself as unequivocally American, but his compositions were greater than the labels he assumed. 59
References Cited Alexander, Michael J. 1989. The Evolving Keyboard Style of Charles Ives. New York, London: Garland Publishing Incorporated. Bernac, Pierre. 1970. The Interpretation of French Song. New York, London: W.W. Norton and Company. Burkholder, J. Peter. 1996. Charles Ives and His World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Burkholder, J. Peter. 2002. The Organist in Ives. Journal of American Musicology, Summer, v. 55, i.2., available from the University of Chicago Press. www.journals.uchicago.edu/JAMS/home.html (accessed March 17, 2004) Cowell, Henry and Sidney Cowell. ed.1955. Charles Ives and his music. New York: Oxford University Press. Cowell, Henry and Sidney Cowell. ed.1969. Charles Ives and His Music. London: Oxford University Press. Duchesneau, Michel. 1978. La Societe Nationale de Musique de 1871 1939, Intemporal. [e-journal] http://mediatheque.ircam.fr/HOTES/SNM/SNMhist.html> Hitchcock, H. Wiley. 1977. IVES. London: Oxford University Press. Hitchcock, H. Wiley and Vivian Perlis. 1977. An Ives Celebration. Urbana, Chicago, London: University of Illinois Press. Hurst, James. 1969. The Art Song. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. Ives, Charles E. 1972. Memos. 2 nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Incorporated. Ives, Charles E. 1975. 114 Songs. 2 nd ed. New York: Peer International Corporation. 60
Ives, Charles. 2003, Essays Before a Sonata. [e-book ed.], available from Project Gutenberg.
62 Appendix The songs by Charles Ives used in this study are available in the collection 114 Songs published by Peer International.
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Talbott, Christy Jo
The French art song style in selected songs by Charles Ives
h [electronic resource] /
by Christy Jo Talbott.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
Thesis (M.M.)--University of South Florida, 2004.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 67 pages.
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.
Adviser: Robert Clifford.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.