Finding Aid for Harry Partch Estate Archive, 1918-1991 | The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

By Tom McGeary, Noah Lenstra, Elizabeth Surles and Scott Schwartz

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Collection Overview

Title: Harry Partch Estate Archive, 1918-1991Add to your cart.

ID: 12/5/45

Primary Creator: Partch, Harry (1901-1974)

Extent: 6.5 cubic feet

Arrangement: Organized into four series: 1.) Writings. 2.) Personal Papers. 3.) Music Score Manuscripts. Whenever possible an identification of the format of the music for each title (i.e., full score, condensed score, piano score, and parts) has been noted with the following corresponding abbreviations: FS, CS, PS, P. 4.) Films, Tapes, Photographs. Each series, except for 3, is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Date Acquired: 04/01/2008. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Films, Instrumental music, Manuscripts, Music Composition

Formats/Genres: Photographs

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of Harry Partch's personal papers, musical scores, films, tapes and photographs documenting his career as a composer, writer, and producer. Of special note are the scrapbooks in series 2 that contain newspaper and magazine articles about Partch and his music.

Biographical Note

Born in Oakland, CA in 1901, Harry Partch was an American composer, theorist, instrument designer and performer. He is best known for the work he did with just temperment: developing a 43 tone octave scale, writing pieces to showcase it, and building instruments upon which it could be played.?  His musical knowledge was largely self-taught and his interest in intonation emerged out of microtonal experimentation conducted on string instruments. Many of his thoughts on the matter are outlined in his 1947 treatise, Genesis of a Music.

By the early 1950s, he had established the Gate 5 Ensemble and record label and begun a musical partnership with fellow composer Ben Johnston that would take him to the University of Illinois in 1956, where Johnston was then teaching. While at Illinois, Partch premiered his large stage work, The Bewitched, as part of the Festival of Contemporary Arts and also composed and had performed the stage works Revelation in the Courthouse Park and Water! Water! He returned to California in 1962 where he completed his last project, the text and music for a film, The Dreamer that Remains before his death in 1974.

Subject/Index Terms

Films
Instrumental music
Manuscripts
Music Composition

Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Accruals: First donation came in December 29, 1992 directly from Danlee Mitchell. Second accrual in April 2008 came from Mitchell as well.

Acquisition Source: Danlee Mitchell, Harry Partch Foundation, San Diego

Acquisition Method: Donation

Related Materials:

Jaen Cutler Theatrical Films, Audio Recordings and Papers, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Kenneth Gaburo Papers, University of Illinois Archives


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Writings],
[Series 2: Personal Papers],
[Series 3: Music Score Manuscripts],
[Series 4: Films, Tapes, Photographs],
[All]

Series 3: Music Score ManuscriptsAdd to your cart.
Consists of autograph (pencil or ink) scores, drafts, and blue-line (ozalid) copies of Partch's musical compositions. The designation "( = HPCat )" indicates those items that are the final score for a version of a composition, and that are catalogued and described in The Music of Harry Partch: A Descriptive Bibliography. See this publication for further information about the compositions and their versions.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: "U.S. Highball" (FS, P), 1943-1944Add to your cart.
Ink-on-paper score (and chromelodeon part) of "U.S. Highball" (second version, HPCat 35B). Score with numerous pencil additions, cuts, comments, paste-overs, etc. Score on 70 pages, chromelodeon part (also with additions, cuts) on 45 pages
Folder 2: "Y.D Fantasy" (FS, P), 1944Add to your cart.
Full score and parts for "Y. D. Fantasy" (HPCat 40) plus second flute part to "Two Settings from Finnegan's Wake". Ink score with various pencil and ink corrections and revisions. Presumably the performing material used for the 1944 Carnegie Hall concert. 22 pp. in ink and pencil
Folder 3: "Polyphonic Recidivism on a Japanese Theme" (FS), 1945Add to your cart.
Full score for "Polyphonic Recidivism on a Japanese Theme" (HPCat 21). Ink score. 3pp
Folder 4: "Two Psalms" (Version B) (FS, P), 1943-1955Add to your cart.
"Two Psalms": (1) full score to "The Lord Is My Shepherd" (HPCat 16B), (2) full score and two (of four) parts to "By the Rivers of Babylon" ( HPCat 5B), plus fragment in pencil of "Harmonic Canon" part to "U.S. Highball". 13pp, score in ink and pencil
Folder 5: "Two Settings from Finnegans Wake" (FS, P), 1944Add to your cart.
Full score and parts to "Two Settings from Finnegans Wake" ( HPCat 31). 17pp. in ink
Folder 6: "San Francisco" and "Letter from Hobo Pablo" (FS), 1943-1955Add to your cart.
Original ink-on-paper score, with later pencil additions made in 1955 for enlarged instrumentation. 6 leaves. San Francisco ( HPCat 26A), Letter ( HPCat 15A)
Folder 7: "Dark Brother" (FS, P), 1942-1943Add to your cart.
Ink-on-paper score (HPCat 8B) with parts for voice, viola, and kithara, with pencil addition for Bass Marimba part. 8 leaves of parts, score on 13 pages
Folder 8: "U. S. Highball" (FS), 1943Add to your cart.
Full score of first version of "U.S. Highball" (Feb. - March 1943) ( HPCat 35A). 64pp in pencil
Folder 9: "14 Intrusions" (FS, P), 1946-1955Add to your cart.
Complete ink-on-paper manuscript score as described in (HPCat 13), version A. 56 pages. Also separately, bass marimba parts for "Soldier", "War", "Another War", "Cloud-Chamber Music", and "Lover", (three leaves), soprano part for "Lover" (one leaf), guitar II part for "Vanity" (one leaf), Guitar III part for "Cloud-Chamber Music", and "Soldier", "War", "Another War" (two leaves), kithara and deer hooves rattle part for "Cloud-Chamber Music" (one leaf), diamond marimba & bowls part for "Cloud-Chamber Music" (three pages on two leaves)
Folder 10: "Seventeen Lyrics of Li Po" (FS), undatedAdd to your cart.
Li Po settings (version E) as notated in ratios and Chromelodian notation, (as described in The Music of Harry Partch, A Descriptive Bibliography, pp. 86-89).: nos. 1-9 (p. [1] contains fragment of pencil Bowls solo from "Even Wild Horses", Act 3, scene 2 (information provided by Danlee Mitchell, 12-31-1993); nos. 11-17. Note: "A Dream" (no. 10), original india-ink-on paper score, notated all in ratios on blank paper, originally in folder 10, is now in box 15, folder 4.
Folder 11: "Mock Turtle Song" (draft), 1954Add to your cart.
Pencil draft for full score of "Mock Turtle Song" from "Two Settings from Lewis Carroll" (HPCat 32/1). 15pp. in pencil (torn from 8 1/2 x 7 spiral-bound music notebook)
Folder 12: "Potion Scene" (draft), 1931-1955Add to your cart.
"'Potion Scene' from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet", 16 pages of draft in black and red pencil, numerous performance and interpretive directions, inscribed; rewritten at Gate 5, 10 July 1955, draft for score of second version (cat. no. 22, version b)
Folder 13: "U.S. Highball" (FS), 1955Add to your cart.
Pencil draft of full score of enlarged instrumentation for "U.S. Highball" (HPCat 35C), plus three sheets of instrument tunings. 50 pp. in pencil
Folder 14: "Ulysses Departs at the Edge of the World" (draft), 1955, 1958Add to your cart.
Pencil draft of score of original, first version (Cat. no. 34, version a), with numerous interpretive notes, inscribed Harry Partch, Gate 5. July 20, 1955 (12 pages); pencil parts for "Ulysses" as recorded in Evanston, IL, in 1958, for alto and baritone sax. Two parts on four pages, nineteen numbered, braced systems for chromelodeon, alto and baritone sax, and diamond marimba parts and on two pages (numbered 4 & 5), braced systems numbered 18-33, for diamond marimba and boo parts; (information provided by Danlee Mitchell, 12-31-93)
Box 12Add to your cart.
Folder 1: "Windsong" (draft), undatedAdd to your cart.
Small music notebook containing pencil drafts for musical scenes, each scene with title, cues to film, instrument tunings, indications of performers, tape speed, from front (inscribed percussion beginning here) pages numbered 32-47 [including inside front cover], from back (inscribed strings beginning here) [not including inside cover pages numbered 1-31]; 47 pages of draft score
Folder 2: "Bless This Home" (draft), 1961Add to your cart.
Pencil sketch of full score. 3pp in pencil
Folder 3: "Water! Water!" (FS), 1961Add to your cart.
Pencil draft of full score for "Water! Water!" 117pp.
Folder 4: "And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma" (FS), 1964Add to your cart.
Pencil draft of full score. 40pp. in pencil.
Folder 5: "Revelation in the Courthouse Park" (FS), undatedAdd to your cart.
Pencil draft of full score, pencil voice parts, pencil sketch of "Deep Inside", and original pencil manuscript of "Rotate the Body". approx. 250 leaves for full score, part 1 of 2, plus additional ca. 35 leaves
Folder 6: "Revelation in the Courthouse Park" (FS), undatedAdd to your cart.
Pencil draft of full score, pencil voice parts, pencil sketch of "Deep Inside", and original pencil manuscript of "Rotate the Body". Part 2 of 2, approx. 250 leaves for full score, plus additional ca. 35 leaves
Box 13Add to your cart.
Folder 1: "Delusion of the Fury", 1965-1966Add to your cart.
Pencil draft of full score (HPCAt 10), plus related 20pp of sketches. 188pp. in pencil
Folder 2: "Oedipus", 1951-1954Add to your cart.
Blue-line copy of full score of second version of Oedipus with numerous pencil and ink corrections and typed paste-overs (especially of spoken texts). Altered score presumably similar to or prepatory to final (third) version of "Oedipus". 131pp.
Folder 3: "Windsong", 1958Add to your cart.
Blue-line copy of final score for "Windsong", with Partch's pencil notes for later instrumental "concert version" ["Daphne of the Dunes"], 19 pages
Folder 4: "Ulysses Departs at the Edge of the World" (FS, P), 1955Add to your cart.
Blue-line copy of first-version score, except for Partch's manuscript title on first page, no manuscript additions. 11 pages. Also, Bb trumpet part prepared by Jack Logan
Folder 5: "Ulysses Departs at the Edge of the World" (FS), 1955Add to your cart.
Blue-line copy of score, second version, title page and 7 pages. No manuscript additions
Folder 6: "Ulysses Departs at the Edge of the World" (FS, P), undatedAdd to your cart.
Two blue-line copies of score, third version, (second copy with system numbers in red pencil) with parts for Eb baritone sax and Eb alto sax. No other manuscript additions. 9 pages (for each score) and two parts in Partch manuscript comprising 6 pages. Also, parts (4 pages) for Eb baritone sax prepared by Jack Logan, 1974
Folder 7: "Eleven Intrusions" (FS), 1950Add to your cart.
Blue-line copy of score with numerous pencil or ink markings, annotations, revisions, corrections, especially for nos. 1-2. 22 pages
Box 14Add to your cart.
Folder 1: "Monophonic Cycle" cover, undatedAdd to your cart.
Cover only
Folder 2: "Oedipus" (FS), 1951, 1954Add to your cart.
Blue-line copy of full score of second version of Oedipus with Partch's pencil corrections, additions, revisions, type-script paste-overs (carbon copy), prepatory to preparing final (third) version of composition. 131 pages plus five leaves of Jocasta part and leaf marked "Pre-Introduction". Pencil annotations suggest this copy was used for performance and recording purposes
Folder 3: "Delusion of the Fury" (FS), 1965-1966Add to your cart.
Blue-line score made from original set of vellum masters, with many annotations, corrections, and additions made by Partch in pencil or as paste-overs. According to Danlee Mitchell, these were not transferred to the set of vellum masters. Comments provided by Danlee Mitchell about this score: "This score is one of three sets of the complete score with covers made by Betty Richards [wife of Emil Richards] in Los Angeles, shortly after vellum score was finished, for Harry's personal use. I have the second copy, which was the score I used to conduct the work in 1969 at UCLA, and I am keeping it." Pasted onto inside front cover Corrections and additions to data on instruments. Cover plus 250 pages. Systems numbered in red-orange pencil
Box 15Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Images from Bitter Music, undatedAdd to your cart.
Labelled as "Oversize folder"
Folder 2: Study for Harmonic Canon I and Kithara I (FS), undatedAdd to your cart.
Pencil draft on one bifolium (t.p. and 3 pp. score); one loose sheet, part for Kithara I in pencil, bass marimba part for "Castor and Pollux" in ink
Folder 3: "Seventeen Lyrics by Li Po" (version A), undatedAdd to your cart.
Li Po settings as notated on 5-line staffs with added ratios: "On the City Street"; "An Encounter in the Field"; "The Intruder" (as described in The Music of Harry Partch, A Descriptive Bibliography, p. 79); Pencil drafts for "Before the Cask of Wine" and "By the Great Wall" on one leaf; Incomplete draft of "A Dream", ink and pencil, one leaf; Incomplete draft of "On Hearing the Flute in the Yellow Crane House", one leaf (without added ratios)
Folder 4: "Seventeen Lyrics by Li Po" (version B), 1930-1932Add to your cart.
Seven Li Po settings (A - G ) notated using ratios on unlined paper, (as described in The Music of Harry Partch, A Descriptive Bibliography, pp. 80-81): "The Long-Departed Love"; "On Ascending the Sin-Ping Tower"; "In the Springtime on the South Side of the Yangtze Kiang"; "The Night of Sorrow"; "On Hearing the Flute in the Yellow Crane House"; "On Hearing the Flute at Lo-cheng One Spring Night"; "A Dream". Note: "A Dream", formerly in box 11, folder 10, and grouped with "Seventeen Lyrics by Li Po" (version E), and described as incomplete, is now properly placed in Folder 4 (manuscript is now complete). On p. [10] of "A Dream" is a pencil transcription by Partch of text of "Christopher Columbus" by Filson Young (pub. Grant Richards, London)
Folder 5: "Seventeen Lyrics by Li Po" (version C) (FS), 1931-1933Add to your cart.
Li Po settings notated on double-lined staffs, (as described in The Music of Harry Partch, A Descriptive Bibliography, p. 82): "A Midnight Farewell" and "On Seeing Off Meng Hao-jan", 3 pp of score on three oversize leaves (two leaves are glued back-to-back); "On the Ship of Spice-wood" and "With a Man of Leisure", 6 pp of score on six oversize leaves (all leaves are glued back-to-back)
Folder 6: "Seventeen Lyrics by Li Po" (version D) (FS), 1933Add to your cart.
Li Po settings as notated using note heads with diacritical marks: "By the Great Wall", ink-on-paper score, (as described in The Music of Harry Partch, A Descriptive Bibliography, p. 85). Examination of the original manuscript provides a corrected description (now reflecting pages that were not microfilmed). Contents: p. [i], dedication to Richard Buhlig, [1:2], dedication and score, [3], key to diacritical notation and ratio.; Pencil drafts for "Before the Cask of Wine" and "By the Great Wall", on one and one-half leaves.; Pencil draft for "I am a Peach Tree", one-half leaf
Folder 7: "Two Psalms", 1932Add to your cart.
Notated in ratios on unlined paper: "By the Rivers of Babylon" (version A), (as described in The Music of Harry Partch, A Descriptive Bibliography, p. 33.); "The Lord Is My Shepherd" (version A), (as described in The Music of Harry Partch, A Descriptive Bibliography, pp. 66-67)
Folder 8: "The 'Potion Scene'" from Romeo and Juliet, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notated in ratios on blank paper: "The Potion Scene" from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (version A), (as described in The Music of Harry Partch, A Descriptive Bibliography, p. 95)
Folder 9: Southwest Indian music transcriptions, ca. 1933Add to your cart.
Partch's working draft transcriptions of southwest Indian and Mexican songs, some from recordings at the Southwest Museum, Pasadena. (See Richard Kassel, "Harry Partch in the Field, Native American Influences on his Music", Music Works 51, Autumn 1991, 6-15): (1) Pencil transcriptions on double-lined staffs: "Luiseno War Dance", pencil introduction by Partch about the transcriptions [continued on next item]; "Hoopa War Song"; "Cahuilla Bird Dance Song"; "Hoopa Brush Dance Song"; "Hoopa Stick Game"; (2) Pencil draft transcriptions on five-lined staffs (with no indications of microtonal inflections), three leaves of drafts and notes for numerous Indian and Mexican melodies, sources of most are identified, one leaf is dated April 13, 1933); (3) One page (of bifolium) of Lou Harrison's ink copy of Partch transcriptions (From Harry Partch / Indian musics), on five-line staffs (with no indications of microtonal inflections): Hoopa Stick Game, Cahuilla Bird Dance Song, Cahuilla Feather dance, Cahuilla General Dance. With envelope mailed to Partch from G. Herzog, New York, 1936
Folder 10: Intonation Examples, 1967Add to your cart.
Two sets of numbered, short extracts (from identified compositions or theoretic sources) illustrating examples of intonation
Folder 11: "Dreamer that Remains" (FS), 1972Add to your cart.
Blue-line copy (1 of 2) of first version of score with Partch's pencil annotations, corrections and revisions preliminary to the second (and final) version of the score (labeled by Partch "Last Dreamer"). Cover and 37 pages
Folder 12: "Dreamer that Remains" (FS), undatedAdd to your cart.
Blue-line score (2 of 2, with systems numbered in red), score incorporates revisions as called for on previous score. Partch's label "Last Dreamer". Cover and 37 pages

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Writings],
[Series 2: Personal Papers],
[Series 3: Music Score Manuscripts],
[Series 4: Films, Tapes, Photographs],
[All]

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