Solubility and solution mechanisms in silicate melts of oxidized and reduced C-bearing species in the C-O-H system have been determined experimentally at 1.5 GPa and 1400 degrees C with mass spectrometric, NMR, and Raman spectroscopic methods. The hydrogen fugacity, f(H2), was controlled in the range between that of the iron-wustite-H(2)O (IW) and the magnetite-hematite-H(2)O (MH) buffers. The melt polymerization varied between those typical of tholeiitic and andesitic melts.|The solubility of oxidized (on the order of 1-2 wt% as C) and reduced carbon (on the order of 0.15-0.35 wt% as C) is positively correlated with the NBO/Si (nonbridging oxygen per silicon) of the melt. At given NBO/Si-value, the solubility of oxidized carbon is 2-4 times greater than under reducing conditions. Oxidized carbon dioxide is dissolved as CO(3)(2-) complexes, whereas the dominant reduced species in melts are CH(3)-groups forming bonds with Si(4+) together with molecular CH(4). Formation of CO(3)(2-) complexes results in silicate melt polymerization (decreasing NBO/Si), whereas solution of reduced carbon results in depolymerization of melts (increasing NBO/Si).|Redox melting in the Earth's interior has been explained with the aid of the different solution mechanisms of oxidized and reduced carbon in silicate melts. Further, effects of oxidized and reduced carbon on melt viscosity and on element partitioning between melts and minerals have been evaluated from relationships between melt polymerization and dissolved carbon combined with existing experimental data that link melt properties and melt polymerization. With total carbon contents in the melts on the order of several mol%, mineral/melt element partition coefficients and melt viscosity can change by several tens to several hundred percent with variable redox conditions in the range of the Earth's deep crust and upper mantle. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.