Ives on His Own Terms: An Explication, a Theory of Pitch Organization, and a New Critical Edition for the "3-Page Sonata"
Date of Degree
Joseph N. Straus
Ives's musical vision is tied to the expression of programmatic content. He believed that all music is program music. The first part of this study, "An Explication," shows how the extramusical dimensions are articulated in the formal design of the music. The formal, motivic, textural, and tonal techniques relate to the program. The program for the 3-Page Sonata is found in three literary sources: a note Ives pinned to his copy of the first edition, the marginal notes on the composing score, and "Memo 5" from Ives's Memos, which contains a parody of the writing of the critic W. J. Henderson. An analysis of the formal procedures establishes the connection between Ives's literary parody of Henderson's statement and the parody of that statement in the music. An understanding of the programmatic content is intrinsic to an understanding of the music.
The second part of the study unravels the components of Ives's innovative language. Ives believed that innovation in the language of music was fundamental to music's ability to communicate. Both "manner" and "substance" are vital aspects of an authentic art. The 3-Page Sonata is based on a symmetrical, cyclic pitch organization on a substructural level. Some compositional techniques are analogous to those in diatonic music. In the third movement four partially-ordered twelve-note sets are the basis of pc material for the entire movement.
The need for a new edition was the result of the new findings in this study, through which many details were clarified. Especially because notation plays a role in Ives's compositional process, a faithful and accurate transcription of the composer's score is necessary. The assumption that is made in this edition is that everything in the composer's score is there for a reason. Ives expressed passionate concern that his notation be observed. It communicates to the performer and the scholar "signs" about the metaphors in Ives's music and about the interpretation of his music; it expresses the composer's formal ideas and the new pitch and rhythmic language he invented.
Baron, Carol Kitzes, "Ives on His Own Terms: An Explication, a Theory of Pitch Organization, and a New Critical Edition for the "3-Page Sonata"" (1987). CUNY Academic Works.
Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.