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Charles Ives

Charles Ives is known in our day as the Father of American Music, but in his day, he was known just like everyone else- an ordinary man living his life. He was born in Danbury, Connecticut on October 20, 1894 (Stanley 1) to his mother, Sarah Hotchkiss Wilcox Ives and father, George White Ives (A Life With Music, Swafford 4). His father was renowned for being the Unions youngest bandmaster and having the best band in the Army (The Man His Life, Swafford 1). Little Charles was influenced early in his life by his father who had libertarian ideas about music (Stanley 1). Although Danbury prided itself as the most musical town in Connecticut, the people did not give the musical profession respect or understanding (The Man His Life, Swafford 1). One day, his father commented on a stonemasons off-key singing by saying, Look into his face and hear the music of the ages. Do not pay too much attention to the soundsfor if you do you may miss the music. You wont get a wild, heroic ride to heaven on pretty little sounds (The Man His Life, Swafford 2). Thus was young Charles introduction to music.He began his musical career by banging on the piano with his dads drum parts using his fists. George interrupted him by saying its all right if you do that Charles, if you know what youre doing, and sent him for drum lessons down the street (The Man His Life, Swafford 1). George Ives also taught his son to respect the strength of vernacular music. As a Civil War band leader he understood how sentimental tunes such as "Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground," "Aura Lee," Stephen Foster songs, and marches and bugle calls were all apart of the experience of war and the memories of soldiers. Many of Ives's innovations developed directly from ideas of his father's even though George was no composer but rather something like a Yankee amateur in music. It came to be the sons destiny to make artistic use of the father's musical experiments. When C...

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