The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Music that has influenced me: Charles Ives - "He (They) is (are) there!" Steampunk relevancy? You decide.

      This might be better placed elsewhere, but, since I can't decide, it ends up here.

      So who is Charles Ives?  A music composer from near where I grew up.  He was born in 1874, so he's a 19th century guy, by birth.  Much of his music was unusual in its day.  There was something of a hoopla for his birth centenary, and that's how I first became aware of him.

      He wrote the song "He is There" in 1917, in support of the USA's involvement in World War I.  It's a good example of Ivesian music, in that it borrows from a number of pieces of "traditional" material, but he grafts them together, along with some of his own originality.  It's an interesting contrast to the more familiar "Over There" by George M. Cohan.  Here is a decent rendition of the Ives piece:

      When World War II came along, he revised it into "They are There".  For me, the best version of this was recorded by Charles Ives himself, in 1943.  (He made a number of recordings at this time, which is an interesting reversal of his previous dislike of  recordings.)  It can be heard here:

      I do have an issue with the transcription of the lyrics.  I believe the line "All those dynamite-sneaking gougers, "  should be "All started by a sneaking gouger," 

      But anyway, this demonstrates the dissonances, and breaks in rhythm that are characteristics of much of his music.

      Ives' (re)use of "popular" music was a bit (but not totally) unusual for the time.  No less than John Philip Sousa did the same thing, on occasion.   And so do I.   The truth is, I'd like to think I'm doing a bit of what these genuine musical composers did, when I alter old and familiar tunes for my own use.  And I know I can thank (blame?) Ives whenever I superimpose different types of music over each other that most people would say do NOT belong together!  (Much of my own music also has a Baroque flavor, and I freely mix that in with more modern influences, but that's a topic for another time.)

      I can also say that I like Ives' lyrics, but explaining why would cause me to get into the socio-political area that I despise.

      So what's my point?  Nothing I can quite put my finger on.   Hah!   But isn't that allowed in the blog environment?

Views: 7


You need to be a member of The Steampunk Empire to add comments!

Join The Steampunk Empire

© 2017   Created by Hephzibah Marsh.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service