The MACMIT Model for Musical Expressive Meaning and its Application to the Third Movement of Charles Ives’s Second Orchestral Set
This article proposes a new model for the interpretation of the expressive meaning of music called MACMIT. The acronym MACMIT stands for six musical facets that may induce emotional responses in listeners, which are: musical parameters, agency/narrative, contextualization, aspects of music cognition models, intertextuality, and topical associations. Each of these musical facets can be applied singularly, or in combination with others, to analyze specific musical passages; this will make possible to identify the elements of the work that could contribute to a complex emotional response in a stylistically competent listener, as determined by the interaction of basic emotive components. This model is applied to four passages of From Hanover Square North, at the End of a Tragic Day, the Voices of the People Again Arose, the third movement of Charles Ives’s Orchestral Set No. 2. The analysis allows not only for the identification of musical elements that can induce particular emotional responses, but also for the determination of an expressive trajectory in the entire composition, as determined by the succession of four complex emotional states: mournfulness, nostalgia, patriotism, and transcendent satisfaction.