One Voice: A Reconciliation of Harry Partch's Disparate Theories
ProQuest, 2007 - 235 pages
The study of American, microtonal composer Harry Partch (1901-1974) is complicated by specious autobiographical accounts, contradictory theoretical positions, and a methodology predicated on a vague concept of intuition. These complications are exacerbated by his use of a forty-three-tone scale, non-Western sources of inspiration, novel terms for preexisting ideas, and an integration of music, drama, and dance. In addition, his use of ratios to represent pitch, and the unique tablature notations for his nearly forty invented instruments create a seemingly insurmountable barrier to the analysis of his music. Yet while these complexities are initially overwhelming, they actually work to obscure the simplicity of Partch's core ideas and compositional technique. At the foundation of all his ideas was an individualistic concept he called One Voice. One Voice was the process by which Partch projected his self image through his works. In doing so, he created a model that aimed to inspire others toward individual expression and artistic investigation. The concept of One Voice is often treated as a byproduct of Partch's more well-known theories, namely Monophony (his intonation scheme), and Corporealism (his performance aesthetic). On closer examination, however, it can be shown that One Voice was in fact his most fundamental theory.
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