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Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music$
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Michael Broyles

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100457

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100457.001.0001

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The Maverick Core

The Maverick Core

(p.205) Chapter 9 The Maverick Core
Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music

Broyles Michael

Yale University Press

One of America's truly visionary composers and instrument builders, Harry Partch turned his back on Western music to develop his own unique musical culture. At around the age of thirty, Partch expounded a singular musical language, with its own complex pitch relationships and tunings and put theory into practice. He then created, from scratch, a large group of instruments on which to play his music. Partch composed using scales of unequal intervals in just intonation and divided the octave into forty-three unequal tones. To play this music, he built a large number of unique musical instruments. Partch considered U.S. Highball his most creative work. Another important piece was the dance satire The Bewitched. Partch not only attacked abstract music, but also offered an alternative called corporeal music—a type of music that was neither abstract nor derivative and embodied by corporeality. Another composer who was as unclassifiable as Harry Partch was Frank Zappa, who looked at the chasm that existed between classical music and popular music.

Keywords:   composers, musical instruments, Harry Partch, scales, U.S. Highball, The Bewitched, corporeal music, Frank Zappa, classical music, popular music

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