You are listening to an excerpt of ODENTITY by David Simons,
Harry Partch was one of the quintessential iconoclastic American composers.
written for the microtonal instruments invented by Harry Partch.
Recorded 2009 for Tzadik CD,
Fung Sha Noon.
Through much research and experimentation, he assembled a cohesive tuning
system in Just Intonation using 43 tones to the octave. These are not equally spaced
intervals! In order to write music that could be heard in this tuning he had to design
and build a most unique and beautiful set of instruments, incorporating elements of
African, Asian, ancient Greek, and middle Eastern scales and instrument designs.
Combining myths from these cultures with the post-industrial discards and folk-
Americana of his own time, Partch created musical-dramatic works unforgettable
in their emotional and aesthetic impact. Although his works have not reached a
mass audience, his legacy of microtonal theory, acoustical innovation and composition
continues to be quite influential. I visited Partch in San Diego in 1974, shortly before
his death, and he gave us a personal tour of his instruments.
In February of 2003 I was composer-in-residence at the Rockefeller Foundation's
Bellagio Center on Lake Como, Italy. My task there was to continue writing my
composition ODENTITY for the ensemble NEWBAND, who are in residence at
Montclair State University in New Jersey, where the original Partch instrument
collection is housed. ODENTITY was premiered in 2007.
to play the diamond marimba go to: