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Harry Partch

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  • Born: Oakland, CA
  • Died: San Diego, CA
  • Years Active: 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Harry Partch grew up in Tombstone, AZ, and was taught by his family to play the clarinet, harmonica, reed organ, guitar. A self-taught composer, he rode the rails during the early Depression years. Partch was an original theorist on tuning systems, wrote the extraordinary book Genesis of a Music (1949), and an instrument designer and builder from 1938 onwards. His operas, in micro-tonal tunings played on his self-made instruments, were often designed for performers who would take multiple roles, eg. singer-instrumentalist-dancer. His songs were often open as to vocal pitch, pre-cursors of the New Narrative Opera. He wrote several innovative filmscores, and a number of collections came out in the late '90s: four volumes on CRI label, and 3-CD set Enclosure Five on Innova.