Harry Partch Music Scores

Finding aid prepared by Mandeville Special Collections Library
Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
858-534-2533
spcoll@ucsd.edu
Copyright 2005


Descriptive Summary

Title: Harry Partch Music Scores
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 629
Contributing Institution: Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 5.0 Linear feet (5 flat boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1922 - 1972
Abstract: The Harry Partch Music Scores consists 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 Wayward.
Creator: Partch, Harry, 1901-1974

Scope and Content of Collection

The Harry Partch Music Scores consists 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 Wayward. The scores are arranged alphabetically.

Biography

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 UCSD.
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.
He 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.

Preferred Citation

Harry Partch Music Scores, MSS 629. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

Publication Rights

Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

Acquisition Information

Not Available

OFF-SITE STORAGE

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

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Microtonal music -- Scores
Monologues with music -- Scores

 

COMPOSITIONS

 

And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma

Oversize FB-459, Folder 1

Twenty-three one minute duets and trios which later become ten quartets and quintets and one septet. Two copies 1964 - 1966

Oversize FB-459, Folder 2

Explanation of substitute verse 31 (p.55) 1966

 

Barstow

Oversize FB-459, Folder 3

Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California - As part of The Wayward 1956

Oversize FB-459, Folder 4

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

 

Bewitched

Oversize FB-459, Folder 5

A Ballet Satire - In ten scenes. Version 1 1955

Oversize FB-459, Folder 6

A Dance Satire - In ten scenes. Version 2 1955

Oversize FB-459, Folder 7

Bless This Home. Poem by Vincenzo Prockelo, written for Gary and Susie Everett 1961

Oversize FB-459, Folder 8

Daphne of the Dunes. A re-copying of the score composed for the Windsong 1958

Oversize FB-459, Folder 9

Dark Brother. Text from Thomas Wolfe's essay God's Lonely Man 1942 - 1943

Oversize FB-460, Folder 1

Delusion of the Fury - A Ritual of Dream and Delusion. Two acts 1966

Oversize FB-460, Folder 2

Dreamer that Remains - A Study in Loving. Original music commissioned by Betty Freeman to constitute a part of the film "Harry Partch - A Study in Loving" 1972

Oversize FB-460, Folder 3

Eleven Intrusions. Numbers 1 and 2 are "Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales" 1949 - 1950

Oversize FB-460, Folder 4

Eleven Poems by Li Po. Set to Music by Harry Partch. Text from The Works of Li Po, the Chinese poet 1922

Oversize FB-460, Folder 5

Even Wild Horses - Dance Music for an Absent Drama. Text from Arthur Rimband's Seasons in Hell 1952

Oversize FB-460, Folder 6

Letter - A Depression Message from a Hobo Friend, first written in 1943. A special rewriting for the Freeman-Pouliot film

Oversize FB-460, Folder 7

Lord is My Shepherd. Spoken expression by Cantor Reuben Rinder of San Francisco 1931

Oversize FB-461, Folder 1

Oedipus - Dance-Drama. The text is an abbreviated version of Sophocles' Oedipus the King 1951 - 1954

Oversize FB-461, Folder 2

Oedipus the King. First version 1950 - 1967

Oversize FB-461, Folder 3

Plectra and Percussion Dances - An Evening of Dance Theater. 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 1949 - 1952

Oversize FB-462, Folder 1

Revelation in the Courthouse Park - After the Bacchae of Euripides. A "double-tale" which alternates between The Bacchae and a modern parallel 1960

Oversize FB-462, Folder 2

Ring Around the Moon - A Dance Fantasm for Here and Now 1949 - 1950

Oversize FB-462, Folder 3

Rotate the Body in All Its Planes - Ballet for gymnasts. Music for an exhibition by Charles Pond's gymnasts at the University of Illinois 1961

Oversize FB-462, Folder 4

Six Poems by Li Po. Set to music by Harry Partch. Texts from The Works of Li Po, the Chinese poet 1922

Oversize FB-462, Folder 5

Sophocles' King Oedipus - Music, Dance, Drama - Based on the version by W.B. Yeats. For a Intoners - Actors, other actors, singing voices, dancers, and two musicians 1950 - 1967

Oversize FB-462, Folder 6

Summer 1955 - A collection of small compositions written or rewritten in summer 1955

Oversize FB-462, Folder 7

Two Settings From Joyce's Finnegan's Wake - "Isobel" and "Annah the Allmaziful." For soprano, kithara, and two flutes 1944

Oversize FB-462, Folder 8

Two Studies on Acient Greek Scales. For harmonic canon, bass marimba added 1946

 

Ulysses Departs from the Edge of the World

Oversize FB-462, Folder 9

A Minor Adventure in Rhythm - First version 1955

Oversize FB-463, Folder 1

Second version 1955

Oversize FB-463, Folder 2

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

Oversize FB-463, Folder 3

Water! Water! - An intermission with prologues and epilogues. Includes left and right chorus 1961

Oversize FB-463, Folder 4

Wayward. 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

Oversize FB-463, Folder 5

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

Oversize FB-463, Folder 6

Yankee Doodle Fantasy. On the Words of an Early American Tune 1944