KUSF 10.14.07 2- 4 PM Spotlight Harry Partch DJ Nikolai

Harry Partch: Corporeality
Harry Partch, creator of his own music theory, compositions, instruments and recordings, was born in Oakland in 1901. After briefly attending music school in the 1920’s, he abandoned Western musical tradition and its tuning system of equal temperament (i.e., 12 piano keys per octave).

Instead, heavily relying on ancient Greek practice and acoustic theory, Harry Partch developed a system of just intonation, dividing the octave into many more intervals than just the usual 12.

To realize his unique tuning system, Harry (“a musician seduced into carpentry”) found it necessary to adapt, invent and build his own instruments, such as the Kithara, Boo, Quadrangularis Reversum, and Zymo-Xyl. As only one set of these beautiful, hand-crafted instruments was ever created, it was necessary to disassemble, move, and reassemble them for each performance. Harry’s compositions included large-scale theatrical works incorporating music, dance, stage-design and drama, with the musicians actively participating on stage and playing the physically demanding, mostly percussive instruments.

Harry’s life included many transient periods of traveling around the country as a hobo with tons of musical equipment in search of interested and sympathetic colleagues who would support his work and provide performance opportunities.

As performance opportunities were rare and difficult to realize, Harry Partch started recording his pieces in the late 1940’s. Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, he released over 10 records on his own independent label, Gate 5. The show consists entirely of Harry’s own recordings.

1st Hour

2nd Hour