Journal Article

Carl Ruggles and Charles Seeger: Strict vs. Free Imitation in Ruggles's Canons

Stephen P. Slottow

in Music Theory Spectrum

Published on behalf of Society for Music Theory

Volume 30, issue 2, pages 283-303
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0195-6167
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1533-8339 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1525/mts.2008.30.2.283
Carl Ruggles and Charles Seeger: Strict vs. Free Imitation in Ruggles's Canons

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Carl Ruggles first used canon in Lilacs, the second movement of Men and Mountains (1927). Thereafter canons grew increasingly important in his work, growing in size and complexity until, in Organum (1947), they comprise most of the composition. Ruggles's use of canon appears to run counter to his preference for freely mutating shapes and his dislike of systematic devices. However, Ruggles's canons always strike a balance between strict and free repetition, in part reflecting the influence of Charles Seeger's dissonant counterpoint. This article discusses canons in Lilacs, Sun-Treader, and Evocation IV.

Keywords: Ruggles; Charles Seeger; Ruth Crawford; ultramodern; dissonant counterpoint; canon; imitation; Evocations; Lilacs; Men and Mountains; Sun-Treader

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