Harry Partch / June 24, 1901 - Sept 3, 1974

A true original, Harry Partch not only built his own instruments of functional architectural and artistic beauty, but he also invented an entire system of music for which to play them, using an octave of 43 notes, just intonation and microtones. While a ton of theoretical thought went into these instruments, they can also be listened to on just a superficial level, meaning you don't need an articulate knowledge of music theory to appreciate them.

The instruments, and resulting music, can be clanging, droning, hypnotic, theatrical, noisy or relaxing, working in systematic ensemble. The compositions will often combine theater and/or text and it is gorgeous "other"-world type of approach to sound (his style took in influence from Asian, African and indigenous musics). He wrote for his percussion, marimba, stringed instruments, reed organ, keyed instruments and for vocals. A truly fascinating and original composer who believed theater and music belonged together.

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