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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/8545

Title: 
  • The intonation systems of Harry Partch
Submitted: 
  • February 2011
Abstract: 
  • This essay is an introduction to the intonational world of Harry Partch (1901-1974). It
    is divided into three main sections. The first section, ”Exposition on Intonation”
    serves mainly is an introduction to the subject. The primary intention here is to give
    the reader the information needed to understand the following chapters. This includes
    basic physics of sound, the language of expressing intervals in ratios and a short
    overview on Partch’s philosophy and aesthetics. The second main section is called
    ”The Construction of Scales”. In this section, Partch’s methods for scale construction
    are discussed. The tonality diamonds are explained as well as the scales derived from
    them. The last section, ”Limitations of the System” is a comprehensive critique on
    Partch’s work. Here, I have used Partch’s own methods of analysis to criticize his own
    methods. Three subjects are discussed in this section. The first subject is an
    examination of Partch’s irrational handling of his scales, how he converts his 29-scale
    into a 43-tone scale. The second subject is Partch’s inexact classification of intervals.
    The third subject is modulation, a concept that Partch’s systems are unfamiliar to. To
    sum up, this essay is a guide to getting to know Harry Partch as well as a critical
    examination of him.

Accepted: 
  • May 17, 2011
URI: 
  • http://hdl.handle.net/1946/8545


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