Charles Ives is famous for using borrowed material in his music. Almost two hundred individual works or movements, spanning his entire career and representing more than a third of his output, incorporate music by other composers or from his own previous work. In this book, J. Peter Burkholder identifies the different kinds of "quotations" in Ives's music, explores the complex musical, aesthetic, and psychological motivations behind the borrowings, and shows the purpose, techniques, and effects that characterize each one.
Burkholder catalogues fourteen distinct ways that Ives borrowed, ranging from direct quotation to paraphrase, variation, collage, modeling, and stylistic allusion. Arguing that these borrowing procedures were compositional strategies, he provides a new perspective on Ives's process of composition. In addition, by tracing the development of Ives's borrowing practices through his career, he contributes to an understanding of the composer's stylistic evolution. And by showing how much of Ives's music uses borrowing procedures that are common to many composers, he reveals that Ives is not as far removed from the classic-romantic tradition as has been thought. Finally, Burkholder's comprehensive treatment of Ives's borrowing techniques offers a new perspective on the entire field of musical borrowing.