Harry Partch's Enigmatic Musical Notation

Ralli, Eleni (February 2020). Harry Partch's Enigmatic Musical Notation HKB-Zeitung, No1/20, p. 12. Fachhochschule der Künste Bern

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Harry Partch (1901-1974) was an American composer, theorist and instrument maker. His book Genesis of a Music (1974) offers a comprehensive explanation of his musical ideas (new tonal systems, instrument-building, playing techniques and notation). He edited many of his works several times, and rewrote them or used them as parts of later compositions. Between 1930 and 1933, Partch worked on a group of songs to poems by the Chinese poet Li Po (701-762, translated into English by Shigeyoshi Obata), which he composed for voice and his newly constructed “Adapted Viola”. Partch spent a long time trying to find a notation system that could convey the musical pitches he wanted to use. His struggles are reflected not least in the fact that he reworked one of these pieces six times over the space of 32 years (Versions A-F, 1930-1962), applying a different notation system each time.

Item Type:

Newspaper or Magazine Article


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Interpretation


Ralli, Eleni


M Music and Books on Music > M Music


Fachhochschule der Künste Bern




Eleni Ralli

Date Deposited:

22 Jun 2020 08:05

Last Modified:

05 Oct 2020 08:28



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