Thursday, May 21, 2009
From Artaud to Partch
Quote from Artaud's 'The Theater and Its Double' (p.95 of my Evergreen book edition)
"MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: They will be treated as objects and as a part of the set.
Also, the need to act directly and profoundly upon the sensibility, through the organs invites research, from the point of view of sound, into qualities which present-day musical instruments do not possess and which require the revival of ancient and forgotten instruments or the invention of new ones. Research is also required , apart from music, into instruments and appliances which, based on special combinations or new alloys of metal, can attain a new range and compass, producing sounds or noises that are unbearably piercing."
Elsewhere Artaud talks about them being of human size and dimensions.
Partch must have found himself if pretty full agreement with this, except for the concentration on metal. Still many of his percussive instruments were more than capable of being piercing. If would have been interesting if the theater community would have picked up on his work before the music one. Probably the development would have been of little difference. In fact his work still exist as theater secondly even though he was on the forefront of those who took Artaud and ran with it. He still deserve more notice from this direction.