Although scholars already understand that the issue of revisions in the music of Charles Ives is fraught paleographically, the intellectual history of attitudes towards Ives's revisions has remained underexplored. This essay examines the major voices in the debate about Ives's revisions between the activation of the Charles Ives Society in 1973 and the publication of Maynard Solomon's 1987 article “Charles Ives: Some Questions of Veracity.” Unpublished letters by John Kirkpatrick and Elliott Carter, which shed crucial light on the issue, are discussed and are reproduced here in their entirety. This debate influenced the way the Ives Society approached their complete critical edition. The Society, which sought to represent “the composer that Ives was at the time of composition,” disregarded later versions of Ives's music in approximately one fifth of the editions issued during Kirkpatrick's tenure as Executive Editor. Taken as a whole, what emerges is a discussion that was much more active than existing scholarship has acknowledged. By approaching Ives's revisions from a historiographic standpoint, future Ives scholarship, which includes editorial projects, has the opportunity to assess more fully its own assumptions about the composer as he has come to be known.

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