Harry Partch Music Scores, 1922-1972 (MSS 0629)

OFF-SITE STORAGE: COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS.

Extent: 4.25 Linear feet (5 flat boxes)

The Harry Partch Music Scores consist of facsimiles of musical and theatrical compositions by Harry Partch, written between 1922 and 1972. Compositions include seminal works such as Delusions of the Fury, U.S. Highball, and The Wayward.

Harry Partch was born in Oakland, CA on June 24, 1901; both his parents had been Presbyterian missionaries in China who endured the Boxer Rebellion. By the age of 20, he had moved through parts of the Midwest and East Coast, then back through Northern and Southern California before settling in San Diego in 1964. He began his early musical training playing clarinet, harmonium, viola, piano, and guitar and composing music using a tempered chromatic scale normal in Western music. He became frustrated with the musical tuning of Western music and subsequently destroyed all of his early works.

Interested in dramatic speech, Partch began to build his own instruments to reflect the musicality of speech and substantiate the intoning voice. His first instrument built in 1930 was the "Monophone," later known as the "adapted viola." Soon after, he was awarded a grant which allowed him to study the history of tuning systems in London and to try to gain permission to write an opera based on W.B. Yeats's translation of Sophocles' Oedipus the King. However, his grant money was depleted by the 1930s and he returned to the United States and to travel around on trains, as a hobo. He recorded his experiences in a journal named Bitter Music (late 1930s) and subsequently composed Barstow (1941), a piece originally recorded for voice and guitar; the latter was transcribed several times throughout his life as his instrument collection grew. Additionally, he composed U.S. Highball (1943), a musical memoir reflecting his train riding memories.

After receiving a Guggenheim Foundation grant in 1943, he returned to completing Oedipus, recording from his own translation. In 1949, he published Genesis of a Music, an account of his own music with discussions of music theory and instrument design, explaining his concept of the fusion of all art forms with the body as its central focus. He later wrote the 'dance satire' The Bewitched, Revelation in the Courthouse Park, and Delusion of the Fury, the latter recorded by Columbia Records in 1969. In the fall of the same year, Partch taught a course at UC San Diego.

Harry Partch is known for his experimental and conceptual compositions involving the 43-tone scale and his customization and design of musical instruments using raw materials such as retuned reed organs, glass bowls, bamboo stalks, liquor bottles, and car light bulbs.

Partch died on September 3, 1974 in San Diego. The majority of his instruments and papers are housed at the Alexander Kasser Theatre and Sprague Library of Montclair State University in New Jersey.

The Harry Partch Music Scores consist of bound facsimiles of musical and theatrical compositions by experimental composer and instrument-builder Harry Partch, written between 1922 and 1972. Compositions include seminal works such as Delusions of the Fury, Oedipus the King, U.S. Highball, and The Wayward. Scores are arranged alphabetically by title. All materials are housed in oversized flat boxes (17x21x3 inches).

The majority of Harry Partch's instruments and papers are housed at the Alexander Kasser Theatre and Sprague Library of Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Container List

COMPOSITIONS

Box 1 Folder 1-2
And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma, 1964 - 1966

Twenty-three one minute duets and trios which later become ten quartets and quintets and one septet. Explanation of substitute verse 31 (p.55).

Box 1 Folder 3-4
Barstow - Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California, 1941 - 1956

Voice parts: originally adapted guitar and voice, 1941; rewritten for two voices, surrogate kithara, chromelodeon, diamond marimba and boo in 1955.

Box 1 Folder 5-6
The Bewitched, 1955

Version 1 - A Ballet Satire. Version 2 - A Dance Satire.

Box 1 Folder 7
Bless This Home, 1961

Poem by Vincenzo Prockelo, written for Gary and Susie Everett.

Box 1 Folder 8
Daphne of the Dunes, 1958

A re-copying of the score composed for the film Windsong.

Box 1 Folder 9
Dark Brother, 1942 - 1943

Text from Thomas Wolfe's essay "God's Lonely Man."

Box 2 Folder 1
Delusion of the Fury - A Ritual of Dream and Delusion, 1966
Box 2 Folder 2
The Dreamer that Remains - A Study in Loving, 1972

Original music commissioned by Betty Freeman to constitute a part of the film Harry Partch - A Study in Loving.

Box 2 Folder 3
Eleven Intrusions, 1949 - 1950

Numbers 1 and 2 are Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales.

Box 2 Folder 4
Eleven Poems by Li Po, 1922

Texts from the works of Chinese poet Li Po, set to music by Harry Partch.

Box 2 Folder 5
Even Wild Horses - Dance Music for an Absent Drama , 1952

The French texts at the ends of the five final scenes are from Une Saison en Enfer, by Arthur Rimbaud. Titles of these scenes are taken from the English translation by Louise Varese, 1945.

Box 2 Folder 6
The Letter - A Depression Message from a Hobo Friend, 1972

First written in 1943. A special rewriting for the Freeman-Pouliot film.

Box 2 Folder 7
The Lord is My Shepherd, 1931

Spoken expression by Cantor Reuben Rinder of San Francisco.

Box 3 Folder 1-2
Oedipus, 1951 - 1967

Dance-drama. The text is an abbreviated version of Sophocles' Oedipus the King.

Box 3 Folder 3
Plectra and Percussion Dances - An Evening of Dance Theater, 1949 - 1952

1. Castor and Pollux - A Dance for the Twin Rhythms of Gemini 2. Ring Around the Moon - A Dance Fantasm for Here and Now 3. Even Wild Horses - A Dance for an Absent Drama.

Box 4 Folder 1
Revelation in the Courthouse Park, 1960

After The Bacchae of Euripides. A "double-tale" which alternates between The Bacchae and a modern parallel.

Box 4 Folder 2
Ring Around the Moon - A Dance Fantasm for Here and Now, 1949 - 1950
Box 4 Folder 3
Rotate the Body in All Its Planes - Ballad for Gymnasts, 1961

Music for an exhibition by Charles Pond's gymnasts at the University of Illinois.

Box 4 Folder 4
Six Poems by Li Po, 1922

Texts from the works of Chinese poet Li Po, set to music by Harry Partch.

Box 4 Folder 5
Sophocles' King Oedipus, 1950 - 1967

Music-Dance-Drama. Based on the version by W.B. Yeats. For 4 intoners-actors, other actors, singing voices, dancers, and 11 musicians.

Box 4 Folder 6
Summer 1955

A collection of small compositions written or rewritten in summer 1955.

Box 4 Folder 7
Two Settings From Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, 1944

1. Isobel 2. Annah the Allmaziful. For soprano, kithara, and two flutes.

Box 4 Folder 8
Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales, 1946

For harmonic canon, bass marimba added.

Box 4 Folder 9
Ulysses Departs from the Edge of the World - A Minor Adventure in Rhythm, 1955

First version.

Box 5 Folder 1
Ulysses Departs from the Edge of the World, 1955

Second version.

Box 5 Folder 2
U.S. Highball, 1943 - 1955

Voice parts, 1943. Originally for voice, adapted guitar, kithara, chromelodeon; rewritten in 1955.

Box 5 Folder 3
Water! Water!, 1961

An intermission with prologues and epilogues. Includes left and right chorus.

Box 5 Folder 4
The Wayward, 1941 - 1955

1. Barstow 2. San Francisco 3. The Letter 4. U.S. Highball 5. Ulysses at the Edge. A collection of musical compositions based on the spoken and written words of hobos and other characters, 1941-1955. The result of my wanderings in the Western part of the United States from 1935 to 1941.

Box 5 Folder 5
Windsong, 1955

For film by Madeline Tourtelot, 1955. Rewritten as Daphne of the Dunes, 1967.

Box 5 Folder 6
Yankee Doodle Fantasy - On the Words of an Early American Tune, 1944