Partch's Vision of “Integrated Corporeal Theater” and “Latter-Day Rituals”

W. Anthony Sheppard

in Revealing Masks

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223028
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924741 | DOI:
Partch's Vision of “Integrated Corporeal Theater” and “Latter-Day Rituals”

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More than any other figure considered here, Harry Partch consistently and rigorously explored the possibilities of a genuine Gesamtkunstwerk. Moreover, his entire musical and theatrical outlook was profoundly influenced by both ancient Greek and East Asian models, and by primitivist and Orientalist fantasies. Finally, his ritualistic works were intended to have a direct spiritual effect on their audiences and to render social change. Despite Partch's warning that it “is not only difficult to define my theater concepts as a whole—it is impossible,” this chapter attempts to provide a sketch of these concepts, relying heavily on his own attempts to describe them. Partch's writings and correspondence provide a rich source of information documenting an evolving vision of totally integrated theater.

Keywords: Harry Partch; ancient Greek; East Asia; Orientalist fantasies; theater concepts; music theater

Chapter.  10391 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Applied Music

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