The Music of Harry Partch

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only recently discovered the work of Harry Partch.


How have I never heard of this man before? Well, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I now know of the amazing Harry Partch. I recently discovered a 1968 documentary from KPBS-TV in San Diego called ‘The Music of Harry Partch’.

Partch expressed the innermost meaning of music thru the purest combination of creativity and curiosity. “I’m a philosophic music man seduced into carpentry,” he said. Building his own instruments, he was able to give life to his musical vision in such a way that traditional means simply could not handle.

While I’ve never had the notion to build my own instruments, I feel a musical kinship with this man gone now since 1974. My way of expanding my musical vision was thru the use of electronic gadgets, found objects and altered tunings on my guitars.

No matter how (or even if) one gets to that plane of creative freedom, the fact that you try is the point. Partch tried and achieved things that I still aspire to do. So for that I thank him for providing me with a new source of inspiration.

Below is the above mentioned documentary (presented in four parts) in which Partch shows off his instruments. We also get to watch a special performance of his piece ‘Daphne of the Dunes’ conducted by Thomas Nee.

And now I’m off to buy a whole bunch of this man’s music.

See Also:
Harry Partch (website)
Harry Partch (amazon)


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