Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
American composer Charles Sprague Ruggles (March 11, 1876 - October 24, 1971), better known as Carl, wrote finely-crafted pieces using "dissonant counterpoint", a term coined by Charles Seeger to describe Ruggles' music. Famous for his prickly personality, Ruggles was nonetheless friends with Henry Cowell, Edgard Varese, Charles Ives, and Charles Seeger. One time friend Lou Harrison dissasociated himself from Ruggles after the 1949 performance of Angels because of the older composer's racism, noting specifically a luncheon at Pennsylvania Station in New York at which Ruggles shouted anti-black and anti-semitic slurs (Miller and Lieberman 1998, p.44). Ruggles wrote painstakingly slowly so his output is relatively small with compositions including Angels, Sun-treader, Organum, Men and Mountains, and Exaltation. His students include James Tenney.
His method of atonal counterpoint was based on a non-serial technique of avoiding repeating a pitch class until a generally fixed number such as eight pitch classes intervened. Ruggles was also a prolific painter, sellings hundreds of paintings during his lifetime.
- Miller, Leta E. and Lieberman, Frederic (1998). Lou Harrison: Composing a World. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195110226
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