Renegades

Harry Partch, the rigorous wild man of American music, wrote, in 1935, “This isn’t Germany, and this isn’t the eighteenth century, and I’m trying to give myself, and others, a good basis for a new and great music of the people.” Partch was arguing, with his usual pugnacity, against the Germanic tradition and against American dependence on that tradition. His urge to break with the past led him, at the height of the Depression, to assume a hobo life, travelling the...

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