[Smt-talk] "The Cage" (Ives)

Richard Hoffman richard.hoffman at belmont.edu
Wed Apr 3 12:39:50 PDT 2013

Similarly, a couple of years ago students in my class noticed that the half note chord on the rest before "A boy" contains the pitches C A G E D.  Seems like more evidence in the same direction.

Rick Hoffman
Belmont University

Dear list:

Elizabeth Bemak, a student in my 20th-C theory class, observed that in Ives' song "The Cage", all the notes in the vocal line longer than an eighth spell "C-A-G-E" (in order). 

That was news to me! Am I just late to the party? I haven't seen this pointed out in any published analysis or discussion. 

In his chapter on "The Cage" in  The Music of Charles Ives, Philip Lambert devotes two pages to Ives' emphasis on these four pitches. He makes fascinating and sometimes very subtle observations, but never notes this perhaps more obvious--and more ordered--implementation of the pun.


David Feurzeig
Associate Professor, Composition and Theory Music Department University of Vermont Burlington, VT 05405

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