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Harry  Partch

Born: June 24th, 1901
Died: September 3rd, 1974
Country of origin: United States of America

Harry Partch was born in Oakland, California as son of missionary parents on 24 June 1901. Largely self-taught, he enhanced his skills as instrument maker and developed during the 1920s and 1930s his own theory of music. Taking his authority from the Greeks, he argued for music as a ’corporeal’ rather than an intellectual art. He used the natural intervals of just intonation and built his own percussion and wind instruments for this purpose in a 43-note scale.

His own major works were dramatic, their drama enhanced by the striking presence of his instruments.  Largely ignored by standard musical institutions, he criticised concert traditions, the roles of performer and composer, the role of music in society, the twelve-tone equal-temperament scale and the concept of pure or abstract music. To explain his ideas, he wrote "Genesis of a music".

Between 1930 and 1972, Partch, who held no teaching appointments, but had research posts at the universities of Wisconsin, Illinois, and California, created music dramas, dance theatre, vocal music and chamber music - mostly performed on instruments he built himself.

His compositions combine American folklore, African and Oriental literature, and mystical and pre-Christian magical thoughts, laced with parody, satire, studied naivety, and irony.

His works received wide attention only late in his life, largely as a result of a performance of Delusion of the Fury in 1969. The influence of his music, however, on other composers has been profound and unabating, as is evident in the works of composers experimenting with just intonation, in mixed-media works since the 1960s, and in the percussive motor-rhythmic music of the minimalists.

Harry Partch died in San Diego on 3 September 1974.

For further information please visit the Harry Partch website www.corporeal.com

per page
  1. Delusion of the Fury

    Delusion of the Fury

    A Ritual of Dream and Delusion
    Digital output
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Edition: study score, facsimile edition
    Language: English
    Order No.: ED 9334
    €46.99
  2. Summer 1955

    Summer 1955

    A Collection of Small Compositions Written or Rewritten in Summer 1955
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: bass, low female voice, 2 high sopranos and ensemble
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English
  3. Summer 1955

    Summer 1955

    A Collection of Small Compositions Written or Rewritten in Summer 1955
    Digital output
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: bass, low female voice, 2 high sopranos and ensemble
    Edition: study score, Facsimile-Edition
    Language: English
    Order No.: ED 9353
    €17.99
  4. Even Wild Horses

    Even Wild Horses

    Dance Music for an Absent Drama
    Digital output
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: ensemble
    Edition: study score, Faksimile-Edition
    Order No.: ED 9337
    €22.99
  5. Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales

    Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales

    Digital output
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: Harmonic Canon II and bass Marimba
    Edition: performance score, Faksimile-Edition
    Order No.: ED 9347
    €3.99
  6. Bless this Home

    Bless this Home

    Poem by Vincenzo Prockelo
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: voice and ensemble
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English
  7. The Dreamer that Remains

    The Dreamer that Remains

    A Study in Loving
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: speakers, singers and orchestra
    Edition: performance material
  8. Revelation in the Courthouse Park

    Revelation in the Courthouse Park

    after „The Baecchae“ by Euripides
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: solo parts, choir and orchestra
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English
  9. Rotate the Body in All Its Planes

    Rotate the Body in All Its Planes

    Ballad for Gymnasts
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: soprano, choir and orchestra
    Edition: performance material
  10. Windsong New

    Windsong

    Score for Madeline Tourtelot’s film
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: ensemble
    Edition: performance material

per page
Profile

Harry Partch was born in Oakland, California as son of missionary parents on 24 June 1901. Largely self-taught, he enhanced his skills as instrument maker and developed during the 1920s and 1930s his own theory of music. Taking his authority from the Greeks, he argued for music as a ’corporeal’ rather than an intellectual art. He used the natural intervals of just intonation and built his own percussion and wind instruments for this purpose in a 43-note scale.

His own major works were dramatic, their drama enhanced by the striking presence of his instruments.  Largely ignored by standard musical institutions, he criticised concert traditions, the roles of performer and composer, the role of music in society, the twelve-tone equal-temperament scale and the concept of pure or abstract music. To explain his ideas, he wrote "Genesis of a music".

Between 1930 and 1972, Partch, who held no teaching appointments, but had research posts at the universities of Wisconsin, Illinois, and California, created music dramas, dance theatre, vocal music and chamber music - mostly performed on instruments he built himself.

His compositions combine American folklore, African and Oriental literature, and mystical and pre-Christian magical thoughts, laced with parody, satire, studied naivety, and irony.

His works received wide attention only late in his life, largely as a result of a performance of Delusion of the Fury in 1969. The influence of his music, however, on other composers has been profound and unabating, as is evident in the works of composers experimenting with just intonation, in mixed-media works since the 1960s, and in the percussive motor-rhythmic music of the minimalists.

Harry Partch died in San Diego on 3 September 1974.

For further information please visit the Harry Partch website www.corporeal.com

Works
Products

per page
  1. Delusion of the Fury

    Delusion of the Fury

    A Ritual of Dream and Delusion
    Digital output
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Edition: study score, facsimile edition
    Language: English
    Order No.: ED 9334
    €46.99
  2. Summer 1955

    Summer 1955

    A Collection of Small Compositions Written or Rewritten in Summer 1955
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: bass, low female voice, 2 high sopranos and ensemble
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English
  3. Summer 1955

    Summer 1955

    A Collection of Small Compositions Written or Rewritten in Summer 1955
    Digital output
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: bass, low female voice, 2 high sopranos and ensemble
    Edition: study score, Facsimile-Edition
    Language: English
    Order No.: ED 9353
    €17.99
  4. Even Wild Horses

    Even Wild Horses

    Dance Music for an Absent Drama
    Digital output
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: ensemble
    Edition: study score, Faksimile-Edition
    Order No.: ED 9337
    €22.99
  5. Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales

    Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales

    Digital output
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: Harmonic Canon II and bass Marimba
    Edition: performance score, Faksimile-Edition
    Order No.: ED 9347
    €3.99
  6. Bless this Home

    Bless this Home

    Poem by Vincenzo Prockelo
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: voice and ensemble
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English
  7. The Dreamer that Remains

    The Dreamer that Remains

    A Study in Loving
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: speakers, singers and orchestra
    Edition: performance material
  8. Revelation in the Courthouse Park

    Revelation in the Courthouse Park

    after „The Baecchae“ by Euripides
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: solo parts, choir and orchestra
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English
  9. Rotate the Body in All Its Planes

    Rotate the Body in All Its Planes

    Ballad for Gymnasts
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: soprano, choir and orchestra
    Edition: performance material
  10. Windsong New

    Windsong

    Score for Madeline Tourtelot’s film
    Composer: Partch, Harry
    Instrumentation: ensemble
    Edition: performance material

per page
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