Charles Ives' Musical Style

Charles Ives, both as a man and an artist, had his roots in the New England heritage.  His tone imagery resounds from the music of his childhood: His keen ear heard: From these personal experiences, he found his way to the use of polytonality, atonality, polyharmony, cluster chords, and polyrhythms.

Ives was:

He would: He was influenced first by his father, a bandmaster who had libertarian ideas about what music might be. When he was perhaps 19 (the dating of his music is nearly always problematic) he produced psalm settings that exploit polytonality and other unusual procedures. He then studied with Horatio Parker at Yale (1894-8) and showed some sign of becoming a relatively conventional composer in his First Symphony (1898) and songs of this period. He worked, however, not in music but in the insurance business, and composition became a weekend activity - but one practiced assiduously: during the two decades after his graduation he produced: The only consistent characteristic of this music is liberation from rule. There are Most of his music had been written without prospect of performance, and it was only towards the end of his life that it began to be played frequently and appreciated.

Charles Ives stands as the first truly American composer of the 20th century and one of the most original of his time.