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Fall 2017: Charles Ives in His World (open to all across campus)

Fall 2017 Musicology course: Charles Ives in His World

An intensive, topics-oriented survey of the music of the composer Charles E. Ives (1874-1954)

MUHL 4300 - 005 (20722) / MUHL 5313 - 001 (27992)

Professor: Dr Christopher J Smith (

Course Facebook “Event”:

Meets TR 9:30-10:50am M218 School of Music.

Open to undergrads and grad students from across the TTU campus. Permission of instructor required. Fulfills upper-level Music History requirement for music majors. Students from a range of disciplines (history, political science, music, mass communications, FADP) welcome & encouraged to enroll.

Requirements include mid-term and final essay exams, a research project, attendance, and participation.

This seminar is an intensive, topics-oriented survey of the life and music of American composer Charles E Ives (1874-1954). Born in small-town Connecticut, Ives is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers in the history of American music.

In this course, we will explore Ives's life, contexts, and essential works, developing familiarity with a range of social, cultural, historical, economic, and biographical factors which shaped his experience and the response to his music, both contemporaneously and in hindsight. We will emphasize understanding the interaction of “content” (musical structure, procedure, aesthetics versus other agendas, biographies, and writing, etc) and “context” (times-places-peoples from which these composers' influences and compositions originated). The course will embrace and enhance sensitivity to interactions of music and cultural history.

We will begin with the post-Civil War context of the young Charles Ives (1874), exploring the cultural and musical trends that shaped the “American Century” and Ives’s own compositional philosophy and output. At all times we will strive to identify and understand common factors impacting the life and music of this very complicated man and artist, and of the complex agendas behind the reception of his music, both during his lifetime and in the half-century since his death. In turn, we will deepen and nuance our understanding of what it meant to be an “American” composer—inside and outside the academy—in the 20th Century.

Drawing on lectures, reading, listening, audio/visual sources, in-class performances, and individual research, this course provides students with an enhanced learning experience combining approaches from musicology, ethnomusicology, cultural history, performance studies, culture studies, geography, and more.





School of Music

Event Information
Time: 9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
Event Date: 8/29/2017

M218 School of Music