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Title:"I Was a Bum Once Myself": Harry Partch, "U.S. Highball", and the Dust Bowl in the American Imagination
Author(s):Granade, Samuel Andrew, II
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Patterson, David
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This study casts the young Harry Partch as a composer primed to tap into the nation's fascination with the Dust Bowl and migrant life. After a brief survey of the few works that currently constitute Partch scholarship, this dissertation contextualizes the search for an American voice in musical composition and the place of the Dust Bowl in the American imagination through literature, photography, and music. It then establishes an historical/biographical framework for Partch himself, surveying his eight years of hobo wandering in the American Southwest (1935--1943) and his subsequent move to New York (1943), ultimately re-situating him within New York City's artistic milieu. Partch's work within the realm of Dust Bowl imagery and resulting acclaim are then postulated as indicative of a trend toward the exoticization of the lower classes hardest hit by the Depression. The study then reconstructs and analyzes two of Partch's early Americana masterworks, including one completed in New York under the auspices of the Guggenheim Fellowship: Bitter Music and U.S. Highball. Using a wide range of sources, from hobo accounts to the papers Partch carried during the Depression, the study concludes by contrasting these works as two distinct responses to Partch's experiences and the notion of Americana through the images and icons of the Great Depression.
Issue Date:2005
Description:337 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3182271
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2005

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