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Harry Partch

Pioneers of Natural Harmonic Music ]

 [ Harry Partch ] Ivor Darreg ] Johnathan Glasier ] Ralph David Hill ] Denny Genovese ] Jules Siegel ]

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[Partch's Instruments]

Harry Partch

Harry Partch was the musical pioneer who returned Just Intonation to Western music after 3 centuries of forgetfulness. In the process, he introduced Western Music to three additional pitch classes, based on the addition of the seventh, ninth and eleventh harmonics to the tonal pallet. This made possible the expansion of the triad (harmonics 4, 5 and 6) as a basic harmonic unit to the hexad (Harmonics 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11) providing 6 tonal pivot points in each chord.

 Partch also implemented the mathematical inversion of the Harmonic Series (Subharmonic Series) in his music and the resulting network of scales formed a 6x6 matrix of tonalities. Arranged in sequence by frequency, the pitches of the matrix, along with those of related secondary tonalities form a 43 tone scale that increases the melodic and harmonic resources of  Tonality many fold.

To implement his music, Partch built an orchestra of instruments especially designed to play his expanded musical scale, and used odd numbered rhythmic meters and polyrhythms as well. Much of his music was vocal and presented in a theatrical context, portraying mythical themes.


Harry Partch with Peter Coraggio - 1971

Peter Coraggio,  was a pioneer of Electronic Music in the 1960's and 1970's. A student of Vladimir Ussachevsky at the Colombia/Princeton Electronic Music Studio, he brought Electronic Music to Hawaii in 1971 when he began his career as professor of music at the University of Hawaii. In that same year, he brought Harry Partch to Honolulu for a series of lectures and performances. Subsequently, one of Peter's students, Denny Genovese learned of the Harmonic Series and Just Intonation.

The instrument they are playing in this photo is the ARP 2500 modular analog synthesizer. This Instrument formed the core of the Analog studio of the Hawaii Electronic Music Group and later the Southeast Just Intonation Center. Some of it's components continue today in the custom Theremin, played by Denny Genovese.

Important Harry Partch Links

Jon Santo's Corporeal Meadows   Corporeal Links

Dean Drummond, New Band and the Center for Partch Studies at Montclaire University

Joe Monzo's Lattice Diagrams of Partch's 43 tone per octave Extended Just Intonation Scale





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