Composer, dishwasher, wanderer, fruit picker, sailor, microtonal theorist, instrument builder, writer, visual artist, philosopher, musicologist, iconoclast teacher Harry Partch was one of the first 20th Century composers to work with microtonal scales, writing much of his music for custom-made instruments that he built himself, tuned in limit tone just intonation. Text By Chris Morrison in allmusic. During his early school years in Arizona and New Mexico he had some rudimentary music lessons, which he found unexciting and conventional. He wrote a considerable amount of music as a youth, but set it all afire in a pot-bellied stove around Part One of a documentary about the composer Harry Partch who invented his own compositional method using a tone scale and many instruments that he built by hand.
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Composer, dishwasher, wanderer, fruit picker, sailor, microtonal theorist, instrument builder, writer, visual artist, philosopher, musicologist, iconoclast teacher Harry Partch was one of the first 20th Century composers to work with microtonal scales, writing much of his music for custom-made instruments that he built himself, tuned in limit tone just intonation. Text By Chris Morrison in allmusic. During his early school years in Arizona and New Mexico he had some rudimentary music lessons, which he found unexciting and conventional.
He wrote a considerable amount of music as a youth, but set it all afire in a pot-bellied stove around Part One of a documentary about the composer Harry Partch who invented his own compositional method using a tone scale and many instruments that he built by hand.
He devised a note octave, and started adapting and building instruments to perform the new kind of music he was envisioning. In large measure it is compounded of investigation, investigation, investigation. In poetry and in many other forms of creative expression investigation may take an entirely intellectual and metaphysical path, but in music, because of the very nature of the art, it must also take a physical path.
To promote a youthful vitality in music we must have students who will question every idea and related physical object that they encounter. They must question the corpus of knowledge, traditions, and usages that give us a piano, for example, the very fact of a piano; they must question the tones of its keys, question the music on its rack, and, above all, they must question, constantly and eternally, what might be called the philosophies behind device, the philosophies that are really responsible for these things.
Over the next three-plus decades, Partch created dozens of new reed, string, and percussion instruments using a variety of materials including found objects like artillery shell casings, Pyrex jars, bottles, and old fuel tanks. Many of the works he wrote for this ensemble are ambitious theater pieces that incorporate dance, mime, costumes, and ritual: Oedipus, The Bewitched A Dance Satire, , Revelation in the Courthouse Square, and Delusion of the Fury , perhaps his best-known work.
Partch never held a formal teaching post, although he was employed as a researcher at various times at the Universities of Wisconsin, Illinois, and California. He supported himself through foundation grants, and the publication, performing, and recording of his works, working for much of that time out of an abandoned shipyard in Sausalito, California.
Musical creators have been, and are, the exponents and the victims of system, philosophy, and attitude, determined for them by textbooks and classrooms, and by the atmosphere in which they grow; in short, by their milieu.
Consequently the later history of Western music is of one system, one philosophy, one attitude, and it is characterized by successive bodies of practitioners made up of multitudes of innocent believers and sprinklings of individualists who are frequently unequal to the struggle, the struggle of fundamental dissent with the musical practicalities. The canons of music do not comprise a corpus juris, common or codified, and the prevailing attitude is a symptom, a danger signal, of possible decay that no person imbued with a spirit of investigation can perceive without misgivings.
Investigators and experimenters are at least as reverent toward our European heritage as the average music lover, probably more so, because they are acolytes of the creative spirit that has produced such phenomena as the past three hundred years of Western music. But it is a dynamic reverence. And yet anyone who even toys with the idea of looking beyond these legacies for materials and insight is generally considered foolhardy if not actually a publicity-seeking mountebank.
The door to further musical investigation and insight has been slammed shut by the inelastic and doctrinaire quality of our one system and its esthetic forms. Your email address will not be published. By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Tweets by WilderUtopia. Buy the book! The Michael Moore-produced, Jeff Gibbs video, Planet of the Humans, uses the capitalism onslaught that has caused disaster across the planet as an Earth Day opportunity to lob spitballs at environmental movements and prominent advocates.
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ISBN 13: 9780306715976
Genesis of a Music is a book first published in by microtonal composer Harry Partch — Partch first presents a polemic against both equal temperament and the long history of stagnation in the teaching of music ; according to Alex Ross , this is "the most startling forty-five-page history of music ever written". In particular, Partch holds Johann Sebastian Bach responsible for "the movement toward equal-tempered tuning, which meant that composers could not absorb the scales of other world traditions; and the urge to make music ever more instrumental and abstract. He then goes on to explain his tuning theory based on just intonation , the ensemble of musical instruments of his own invention such as the "Surrogate Kithara, a struck-string, harplike instrument",  and the guitar with movable frets he used to compose Barstow  , and several of his largest musical compositions. The book has been highly influential to succeeding generations of microtonal composers, including Lou Harrison ,  Ben Johnston ,  and James Tenney.
Genesis Of A Music
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Genesis of a Music