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 4: Films, Tapes, PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 1: 16-mm filmsAdd to your cart.
Box 17Add to your cart.
Reel 1: Rotate the Body, undatedAdd to your cart.
Reel labeled: # 4501, Creative Films, Rotate the Body, Ans Print, 7" reel
Reel 2: Music Studio, Harry Partch, undatedAdd to your cart.
Reel labeled: Music Studio - Harry Partch, print no. 8, Creative Films, eighth print, 10 1/2" reel
Reel 3: Windsong, undatedAdd to your cart.
Reel labeled: Windsong, For Harry, With love, Madeline, Madeline Tourtelot print 1, 10 1/2" reel
Reel 4: U.S. Highball, undatedAdd to your cart.
Reel labeled: U.S. Highball, Creative Films, 2719 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois, print #1, 12" reel; Note by Tom McGeary: first copy of Madeline Tourtelot original
Reel 5: The Music of Harry Partch, September 1974Add to your cart.
Reel labeled: KPBS Television 15, FM Radio 89.5, Sand Diego, Electroprint optical track, new print, 12" reel. Note by Danlee Mitchell: "This film was copied from a mag stripe original and is slightly fast. The voices sound high; if machine is adjustable, slow down to make voices lower and more natural."
Sub-Series 2: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
These folders contain groups of photographs, slides, or negatives, grouped by production, place, or photographer.
Box 9: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: "Delusion of the Fury", 1969Add to your cart.
Photographs of UCLA production
Folder 23: "Dreamer that Remains", 1972Add to your cart.
Photographs taken at time of filming "Dreamer that Remains"
Folder 24: Gualala, CA, ca. 1948-1951Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Instruments (I), ca. 1966-1973Add to your cart.
35-mm slides taken by Danlee Mitchell, San Diego, studio
Folder 26: Instruments (II), 1969Add to your cart.
B&W negatives, July-October 1969
Folder 27: Photographs, undatedAdd to your cart.
Unsorted photos, B&W, color, some identified
Folder 28: "Water! Water!", 1962Add to your cart.
Photographs of University of Illinois production
Folder 29: WTTW-TV (Chicago), 1957Add to your cart.
Photographs during taping of TV program
Sub-Series 3: 1/4 inch reel-to-reel tapesAdd to your cart.
Box 17Add to your cart.
Reel 6: UCLA lecture, May 1966Add to your cart.
Lecture recital by Partch at UCLA, reel labeled: (1) demonstration of instruments, (2) lecture, 7 1/2 "
Reel 5: Peter Yates lecture, undatedAdd to your cart.
Labeled: Peter Yates KPFK Lecture, no. 1, 7" reel, 2 of 2
Reel 7: Partch lecture on Bewitched, March 1957Add to your cart.
Lecture by Partch about The Bewitched, 7" reel (Danlee Mitchell's copy)
Reel 8: Partch Hawaii Lecture, July 1971Add to your cart.
Lecture by Partch at the University of Hawaii, July 9, 1971, 1 of 2
Reel 10: Harry Partch Talks, undatedAdd to your cart.
Three lectures, 7" reel (Danlee Mitchell's copy): "Plectra and Percussion Dances," KPFA; "Oedipus," KPFA; Bewitched, WNYC
Reel 11: "Revelation" rehearsal, 1960Add to your cart.
Reel labeled: Partch, first rehearsal of "Revelation," 7" reel, Note by Tom McGeary: tape of first rehearsal at the University of Illinois, conducted by John Garvey
Reel 12: Partch Memorial meeting, September 1977Add to your cart.
Harry Partch Memorial meeting, at Lou Harrison's mother's home, Redwood City. Those present include Betty Freeman, Danlee Mitchell, Jack Larson, Steve Pouliot, 7" reel
Reel 13: Paul Simons sings Bewitched, May 1979Add to your cart.
Paul Simons singing Witch parts from Bewitched, May 27, 1979, 5" reel
Reel 9: University of Hawaii lecture, 1971Add to your cart.
Lecture by Partch at the University of Hawaii, July 9 (two 7-inch reels)
Box 10Add to your cart.
Reel 1: The Letter, film track, 1972Add to your cart.
Adaptation of "The Letter" for "Dreamer that Remains," film, summer 1972, 7" reel (Danlee Mitchell's copy)
Reel 2: Peter Yates interview, June 1960Add to your cart.
Harry Partch interviewed by Peter Yates, June 9, 1960, 7" reel
Reel 3: Gene Paul interview, 1970Add to your cart.
Harry Partch instrument interview with Gene Paul, Encinitas, CA, May 30, 1970, 7" reel, duplicate copy (with enclosed content notes by Philip Blackburn)
Reel 4: Peter Yates lecture, undatedAdd to your cart.
Lecture by Peter Yates, The American Experimental Tradition, (KPFK radio talk?) 7" reel, 1 of 2

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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