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Do You Consider Charles Ives’s “At the River” an Original Piece? Essay Example

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Robert Lowry initially composed “At the River”, although Charles Ives adapted the song for his own purpose. Therefore, Ives’ rendition can be considered a different piece because it appears that the meaning of the song alters altogether when his composition is performed. The original version of “At the River” seems more upbeat, as many church hymns do. As the chorus sings, it is apparent that the purpose of the piece is to praise and reflect in prayer. However, Ives’ version of the piece appears to be more slow and somber. When listening to both versions of the song, they appear to have a significantly different meaning. In the first version, the “river” may be a place of joy, while in the second version, the “river” sounds more like a mythical place that may be associated with death.

Another interesting difference between the two versions of this composition is that when listening to them without focusing on the lyrics, they appear to be entirely different songs. Lowry’s original version is meant to be sung by a chorus, while Ives’ version appears to be more of a solo piece. As a consequence, the meaning of the song varies; Lowry’s piece appears to be made for collective prayer, while Ives’ piece is created for the purpose of solo reflection. Since the two version have different meanings and intentions, it can be concluded that they are both original pieces. It is clear that Ives drew his inspiration from Lowry’s piece, but the version he created is so dissimilar from the original that it could be considered its own work. It is important for artists to draw inspiration from one another so they can continue building upon music in a manner that makes it relatable to future generations.

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