Ives violin sonatas

February 4, 2021, 1:55 AM · Hi everyone! I am writing a paper of my choice for a university course on 19th and 20th century music. I was led to an interesting thought about Ives. As the violin is an instrument that can play quartertones with ease, why did Ives not use that capability in his 4 violin sonatas?

If anyone has any ideas, thoughts, or knows of any papers that specifically mention this topic it would be much appreciated.

Cheers :)

Replies (4)

February 4, 2021, 3:29 AM · I feel the question is like asking 'why does a piece not have pizzicato in it as the violin can do pizzicato'? A quick search shows me Ives wrote two pieces with quarter-tones, but it wasn't an integral part of his compositional style.
February 4, 2021, 9:32 AM · What is surprising is that HINDEMITH doesn't seem to have experimented with them, in view of his extensive involvement with Turkey
Edited: February 4, 2021, 11:38 AM · An exact, equal-tempered 50 cents quarter-tone is not used in traditional musics. What those music traditions from India and the Moslem countries use as fractional tones are the smaller intervals that western music does not use. Moslem music theory was borrowed from the ancient Greeks. Melodically they don't often move from one note to its quarter-tone neighbor, but instead modify the tuning of the scale to fit a Maquam or Raga. What is most distinctive to western ears is the neutral third interval; splitting the difference between the major and minor third, or splitting the minor third into two equal parts. . One of the Indonesian Gamalan tunings is equal-pentatonic, dividing the octave into five approximately equal parts of 240 cents. Anyway, in my opinion, western experiments with quarter-tones have been aesthetically unsuccessful.
February 14, 2021, 8:33 AM · The quarter-tone ideas from the 20th century do not derive from musical tradition (wherever from). They derive logically from the framework of 12 tone music. Why restrict yourself to 12 tones? Two dozen is more than one dozen.


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