Home of Harry Partch, 1943, 329 W. Seneca St.

Ithaca LGBTQ History Walking Tour

Home of Harry Partch, 1943, 329 W. Seneca St.

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services, Ithaca College


Composer and music theorist Harry Partch spent the spring and summer of 1943 living at 329 West Seneca Street. Here he worked on his composition U.S. Highball. U.S. Highball was selected by the Library of Congress's National Recording Preservation Board as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Partch was aware from an early age that he was gay. Before coming to Ithaca, Partch had been in a romantic relationship with Ramón Navarro while living in Los Angeles. Navarro began acting in silent films, and went on to become a leading man of stage, screen, and television.

Partch called himself "a philosophic music-man seduced into carpentry." The musical tuning system he devised divided the octave into forty three different pitches. Along with this he also created a new notational system, and invented a wide variety of new musical instruments capable of playing his compositions.

Today the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music holds the Harry Partch Estate Archive, including Partch's personal papers, musical scores, films, tapes and photographs documenting his career as a composer, writer, and producer. In 1974, Partch was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Percussive Arts Society, which promotes percussion education, research, performance and appreciation.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Ithaca LGBTQ History Walking Tour


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