Bitter Music: Collected Journals, Essays, Introductions, and Librettos
by Harry Partch
University of Illinois Press, 1991
Paper: 978-0-252-06913-0 | Cloth: 978-0-252-01660-8
Library of Congress Classification ML410.P176A3 1991
Dewey Decimal Classification 780.92


Bitter Music collects 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 as he hiked the rugged northern California coastline. It also includes Partch's essays on and discussions of his own compositions, as well as librettos and scenarios for six major narrative/dramatic works.

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