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Our Wagner, Only Better:
Harry Partch, Wild Boy of American Music, Part 3

4,566 words

harrypartch[1]Part 3 of 3

Lacking the notion of radical traditionalism, Partch’s audiences tended to misunderstand him, by assimilating him to either of two reassuringly familiar roles: as either an “Orientalist” or some kind of “avant-garde” radical.

These were two things that infuriated Partch as failures to understand what he was doing. The first, beloved of lazy though positive reviewers and polite guests, was to say something like “It’s very Oriental, isn’t it?”[1] In a very superficial sense, it is—it seems mostly gongs and mallets, with nary a string instrument to be found— Read more …

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Our Wagner, Only Better:
Harry Partch, Wild Boy of American Music, Part 2

Harry Partch, June 24, 1901–September 3, 1974

Harry Partch, June 24, 1901–September 3, 1974

4,834 words

Part 2 of 3

Rejecting the equal temperament and concert traditions that have dominated western music, Harry Partch adopted the pure intervals of just intonation and devised a 43-tone-to-the-octave scale, Read more …

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