Teoría Incertidumbre #6

Teoría Incertidumbre #6

Harry Partch and The Chromelodeon


– Chromelodeon I (from The World of Harry Partch (1969) record)


-Harry Partch – And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma (1963-1966)

Chromelodeon I, it was adapted from a harmonium with a range of 6 octaves and two sets of pieces of tonality, worked at the University of Wisconsin in 1945, the adaptation process consisted of removing the 146 pieces of the two sets, each set contained 73 pieces, these pieces are replaced by another 73 pieces but with the range of the 43 tones of the microtonal system and so on etc. The “octave” now has another range, which produces in the musician at the beginning a psychological shock for the training of the instrument.

The concept of the instrument was absolutely “chromatic”, wanting to approach the greatest number of “colors” (tones).


About the original instrument:

The harmonium or harmonium (also called harmonium or harmonium) is a wind instrument with keyboard, apparently similar to the organ, but without tubes and much smaller; It is a typical musical instrument of devotional music used in Asia.

Originally the harmonium was developed in Germany, just at the beginning of the 18th century. It had just a sudden change in its architecture when the English took it to India where it had its first impact on the Asian population. Quickly the original harmonium underwent certain modifications to become a floor organ, where the Indian singer could sit, pump, sing and sing at the same time. The tonal scale of the various pedal cascades within the structure of the harmonium was changed to the tonal scale of the greater sustained c.

In the 19th century, in Calcutta, India, Dwarkanath Ghose modified the instrument to be pumped by one hand, while the other played only the melody, obtaining a splendid boom within all of India and Pakistan.

In the West it is classified as a wind instrument of free reed. It has a keyboard, which controls the passage of air through metal tongues that produce sound. The air intake is produced by means of bellows, operated by pedals by the same interpreter. To achieve a uniform sound, the air from the bellows passes to an intermediate bellows called “secret” or “reserved” that maintains a constant pressure. However, the record called “expression” allows the entry of air directly from the bellows to the reeds, with which the interpreter can get more expressive sounds (forte, piano, staccato …)

It also has a system of records triggered by handles, which allow the passage of air to one or other sets of reeds. With this system you can produce different sounds in timbre, height or hue; besides being able to divide the keyboard into two sections. Some harmonies even have a register that is operated with the knees and allows the passage of air through all the tabs. In this way, two and up to three different keyboards can be easily simulated.

Harry Partch spent his childhood in small and remote towns in Arizona and New Mexico and grew up listening to songs in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and in the Indian languages of those regions. He learned to play the clarinet, the harmonium, the viola, the piano and the guitar. He began to compose at a very early age using the usual chromatic scale in Western music, but later burned all his works of this time to feel very dissatisfied with the sounds he got with it, which did not suit their expressive needs or their ideas musicals. Partch came to the conclusion that he needed new instruments (which he invented and built himself) and suitable interpreters for them. His first instrument was the monophonic (later known as “adapted viola”).

Harry Partch – And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma (1963-1966) (Excerpt from the work performed by Ensamble Musikfabrik).

A small note in the Universal International News about Harry Partch (the Chromelodeon appears).

Modulation is the movement of the “emotion” of one tonality to the “emotion” of another. Harry Partch.