Bitter Music: Collected Journals, Essays, Introductions, and Librettos

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University of Illinois Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 487 pages
4 Reviews
"Now in paper For The first time, Bitter Music is a generous volume of writings by one of the twentieth century's great musical iconoclasts. Rejecting the equal temperament and concert traditions that have dominated western music, Harry Partch adopted the pure intervals of just intonation and devised a 43-tone-to-the-octave scale, which in turn forced him into inventing numerous musical instruments. His compositions realize his ideal of a corporeal music that unites music, dance, and theater. Winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, Bitter Music includes two journals kept by Partch, one while wandering the West Coast during the Depression And The other while hiking the rugged northern California coastline. it also includes essays and discussions by Partch of his own compositions, As well as librettos and scenarios for six major narrative/dramatic compositions."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librarianbryan - LibraryThing

Bitter Music music itself gets five stars. If you read between the lines you get one of the most revealing artist bios ever.The other essays fluctuate between two and three stars. Read full review

Review: Bitter Music: Collected Journals, Essays, Introductions, and Librettos

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

"Bitter Music" itself (as well as many of the librettos) was nothing less than life-changing, but I have to admit to skimming most of the essays & supplementary writings. Read full review


The Journal of a Hiking Trip
Patterns of Music 1940
W B Yeats 1941
Show Horses in the Concert Ring 1948
No Barriers 1952
A Somewhat Spoof 1960
A QuarterSaw Section of Motivations
Barstow 1941
Oedipus 1954
Plectra and Percussion Dances 1953
A Soul Tormented by Contemporary Music
Observations on Water Water 1962
Water Water An Intermission with Prologues
Sources and Notes

U S Highball A Musical Account of

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About the author (2000)

Thomas McGeary has written extensively about the reception of Italian opera in eighteenth-century Britain and his editions and translations of Arnold Schoenberg and Harry Partch received ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards. His research has been supported by fellowships from institutions including the Newberry Library/British Academy, the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and the American Handel Society, and his articles on art, music and literature in eighteenth-century Britain have appeared in, among others, Music and Letters, the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, the Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies, Early Music, Burlington Magazine and Philological Quarterly.

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