Analysis of Music 1900-1950

Charles Ives and the Shadow of American Transcendentalism

Gann, Kyle. Charles Ives's Concord: Essays after a Sonata. University of Illinois Press, 2017

Ives, Charles. The Concord Sonata

Tick, Judith, and Paul Beaudoin. Music in the USA: A Documentary Companion. Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 2008.

The Norton Anthology of American Literature, edited by Robert S. Levine, 9th ed., W. W. Norton, 2016

Vol. 1      |      Vol. 2

Charles Ives Society: Index of Borrowed Tunes


Conversion scale for percentages to 4.0 system


Summaries / Responses / Participation [50%]

Reading and discussion are the crux of this course. Each reading will be assigned to a student respondent. The respondent needs to write up a 2-page summary of the reading and assemble a list of questions (approx. 3-5).

The questions may cover anything you don't understand in the reading, but ideally they should be somewhat open-ended/interpretive and act as a catalyst to discussion.

Summaries/questions must be posted to the discussion board before class.

This activity is meant to help you distill the most important/interesting ideas from the readings (in particular, those that will stimulate discussion in class) and to hone your writing skills.


Project Presentations [15%]

Students will give a presentation on their final papers.


Final Paper [35%] (upload here) | Due March 15th, 2023 at 11:59 pm

An 8 to 10-page analytical paper on a work by Charles Ives or a comparative analysis of one work by Ives and one work (literary, musical, other?) by another author. Students must discuss plans for the final paper/project with the instructor by the end of the 5th week of the quarter

Grading rubric for final paper

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Precursors


Puritanism and poetry

Ives Memos, §53, pp. 129-30, The Bay Psalm Book, Day of Doom, Taylor/Metaphysical Poetry

Slides (Puritan theology)

Class session audio



Ives, Essays Before a Sonata: Epilogue / Memos, §53, pp. 131-33

William Billings: David's Lamentation (score) (1778) / recordingJargon (score) (1778) / recordingTo the GODDESS of DISCORD

Sacred Harp/shape-note singing (Old Hundredth)


Class audio 1/12/23

Week 3: Emerson

Emerson: excerpts from Nature, Self-Reliance

Gann, Essays After a Sonata, ch. 4

Ives, Essays Before a Sonata: Emerson


Class audio 1/17/23

Class audio 1/19/23

Week 4: Analysis, The Concord Sonata, mvmt I (Emerson)

Gann, Essays After a Sonata, ch. 3, ch. 5

Ives, The Concord Sonata, pp. 1-20

Class audio 1/24/23

Class audio 1/26/23

Week 5: Hawthorne

Gann, Essays After a Sonata, ch. 7

Hawthorne, The Celestial Railroad / Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress

Ives, Essays Before a Sonata: HawthorneThe Celestial Railroad, "Phantasy" for piano / 

Symphony no. 4, mvmt. II, Comedy


Power Point - Hawthorne

Class audio 1/31/23

Class audio 2/2/23

Week 6:  Analysis, The Concord Sonata, mvmt II (Hawthorne)

Gann: Essays After a Sonata, ch. 8

Ives, The Concord Sonata, pp. 21-52

Class audio 2/7/23

Week 7: Thoreau

Gann, Essays After a Sonata, ch. 10

Ives, Essays Before a Sonata: Thoreau

Thoreau, Walden (excerpts) / Resistance to Civil Government (excerpts from Introduction) 


Class audio 2/14/23

Class audio 2/16/23

Week 8: Analysis, The Concord Sonata, mvmt IV (Thoreau)

Gann, Essays After a Sonata, ch. 11

Ives, The Concord Sonata, pp. 61-70

Class session 2/21/23

Class session 2/23/23

If time allows:
The Concord Sonata, mvmt III (The Alcotts) pp. 53-60 / Gann, Essays After a Sonata, ch. 9

Week 9: Transcendentalism and its Discontents

Frederick Douglass, Margaret Fuller, Theodore Parker, Walt Whitman, Thoreau and John Brown

Tick, Charles Ives and Gender Ideology

Class session 2/28/23

Class session 3/2/23

Week 10: Student Presentations

Course Summary:

Date Details Due
Public Domain This course content is offered under a Public Domain license. Content in this course can be considered under this license unless otherwise noted.