Sunday, September 16, 2007

Harry Partch - Part 4

Harry Partch and the Guitar of Feuermann

Before school
The fourth book opens as Frank Bridge, the Thomas manor's elderly caretaker, sees lights inside the abandoned house. Investigating, he overhears Lord Voltisubito and Peter Tchaikovsky (Ohrwurm) plotting Harry Partch's death. Frank is discovered and killed; at that same moment, Harry awakes with his scar hurting and having seen the murder in his dream.

Soon after, Harry departs for the Quodlibet World Cup with Ron Webern, Harmony Grainger, the Webern family and Amos and Cedric Dittersdorf. Following the match, Demisemiquavers, Lord Voltisubito's servants, storm the camp, creating panic and mayhem. The trio flee into the forest where they see the Dark Clef, Lord Voltisubito's sign, shot into the night sky. William Crotch, the head of the Department Of International Musical Co-operation, arrives and accuses the trio of Ron, Harry and Harmony of composing it, but upon investigating, Crotch's house usher , Weiniawski, is found clutching Harry's stolen baton. Crotch is furious and fires Weiniawski.

Tritone Tournament
Professor Drumandbuglecorps announces that the Tritone Tournament will be held at Hogwoods during Walton’s Belshazar’s Feast. The centuries old inter-school competition was discontinued because it became too dangerous, but has been recently revived. The tournament includes three difficult tasks, one held during each school term.

The Guitar of Feuermann (left) chooses one student from each competing school. Because the tournament is so dangerous, students must be at least 17 years old to enter. Cedric Dittersdorf is chosen as Hogwoods' champion, Joyce DiDonato is selected for Boieldieu Academy and Sturmunddrang Institute is represented by George Crumb. The Guitar unexpectedly selects a fourth champion — Harry Partch — even though Harry never entered and is underage. This leads to a falling out with Ron, who thinks Harry cheated to enter.

Harry is guided through the tournament by Professor Robert Moody, the new Defence Against the Dark Keys teacher and a former AudioTech. In the first task, the champions must retrieve a golden cd from a Deathmetal Trio. With advice from Hagegard, Moody, and Harmony, Harry uses his Sibelius software to record the Deathmetal Trio and capture the cd, earning high marks. Seeing how dangerous the task was, Ron realizes Harry would not have cheated, and they reconcile. Meanwhile, Harmony begins S.P.U.D., the Society For the Protection of Usher Directions.

The champions are required to attend the Viennese Ball, a tradition associated with the Tritone Tournament. Harry wants to invite Sarah Chang, but when he learns she is attending with Cedric Dittersdorf, he agrees to take Christina Pavarotti, while her twin sister, Giuliana, goes with Ron. Harmony Grainger attends with George Crumb — sparking Ron's jealousy, made worse by Harmony's unexpectedly beautiful appearance at the Ball.

The second task requires retrieving something important to each champion that is hidden in Hogwoods' lake. Harry has delayed in finding a way to stay submerged for an hour. As the event is about to begin, Dorati, the Mallets' former house-usher, gives Harry Gitternweed so he can circular breathe. Harry rescues Ron, but when the other champions do not appear, he releases the other "prisoners", losing time and leaving him tied for first place with Cedric.

For the third task, the champions must navigate a large maze filled with dangerous obstacles. Shortly before the event, Harry and George Crumb are startled when a dishevelled Mr. Crotch emerges from the forest, mumbling incoherently and demanding to see Drumandbuglecorps. Harry runs for help, but when he returns with Drumandbuglecorps, they find Crumb unconscious and Crotch missing. While waiting in Drumandbuglecorps's office, Harry peers inside a Positive organ containing the professor's memories. In one, Harry sees a composing trial in which William Crotch, Jr., a Demisemiquaver, is sentenced to Ausdrucksvoll by his father, Crotch Sr. Harry also hears testimony that Drum Snare was once a Demisemiquaver.

Tote Stadt graveyard
During the third task, Harry and Dittersdorf successfully navigate the maze. Because they helped each other, they agree to grab the Guitar simultaneously. Unknown to them, it is actually a portamento that transports them to an old cemetery in Tote Stadt. Awaiting is Peter Tchaikovsky, who is carrying what appears to be a deformed infant, who is actually Lord Voltisubito. Voltisubito orders Tchaikovsky to kill Dittersdorf, which he does. Harry is then tied from head to toe to a viola case, and Tchaikovsky uses Harry's blood, a bone from Voltisubito's long-dead father, and his own severed hand in a bizarre ritual that restores Lord Voltisubito to his full body and power. Voltisubito now carries Harry's blood within him and is no longer affected by the Music that has protected the boy since infancy.

Voltisubito reveals that his servant at Hogwoods ensured Harry would win the tournament and be brought to the graveyard. After summoning his Demisemiquavers, Voltisubito challenges Harry to a duel. Unknown to Voltisubito, his and Harry's batons are "twins", each containing the same Musical core (a tail feather from Drumandbuglecorps's firebird, Igor). As the batons' beat patterns interlock, a Retrograde Inversion effect occurs, causing the spirit echoes of Voltisubito's victims, including Cedric Dittersdorf, Florence Foster Jenkins, James and Lily Partch, and even AmericanIdoler Frank Bridge, to spill out from his baton. The echoes momentarily protect Harry by distracting Voltisubito, allowing him to grab the portamento and escape to Hogwoods with Dittersdorf's body.

After Harry returns to the school grounds through the portamento, Moody takes Harry to his office immediately. He reveals that he has been helping Harry throughout all the tournament's events including helping Harry pass some obstacles in the maze from the exterior. He tells Harry that he did this, so that Harry would reach the portamento, and thus send him to the cemetery, giving Voltisubito his chance to revive. After the explanation, the Imposter-Mad-Ear tries to attack Harry. However, he is saved by Drumandbuglecorps, Snare and McGegan. Drumandbuglecorps states that when he saw Moody take Harry out of sight after returning from the maze, he knew instantly that something was not right, and thus he followed. When Snare feeds Moody a bottle of Vivacissimamente, a truth potion, Moody is exposed as William Crotch, Jr. who escaped Ausdrucksvoll and used a Polyrhythm Potion to impersonate the real Robert Moody, who is trapped in a Musical trunk in his office. Crotch Jr. murdered his father and entered Harry's name into the Guitar of Feuermann, covertly ensuring that Harry completed each difficult task. Minister of Music, Rudolf Friml, arrives at Hogwoods accompanied by a Decibel. Fudge denies Drumandbuglecorps's claim that Voltisubito has returned and before Crotch can repeat his confession, the Decibel performs the Decibel's Kiss on him.

Drumandbuglecorps swiftly and urgently revives the Order of Sharps and Flats, in the wake of Voltisubito's rising. He tells the Webern family and Professor McGegan to alert friends and allies of old, at a meeting in the hospital wing where Harry is staying. At Cedric's memorial, Drumandbuglecorps, against the Ministry's orders, tells students the truth about Cedric's death and that Voltisubito has returned, stating "It would be an insult to his memory" to claim otherwise.

Ron's jealousy comes to the fore when Harry's name is pulled from the Guitar of Feuermann. He thinks Harry is lying about putting his name in for the contest, and abandons his friend. Ron later returns when he sees how dangerous the competition is. This foreshadows the episode in the Deathly Hockets where Ron ceases to believe in Harry's mission and abandons him and Harmony. Ron returns in time to save Harry from a dangerous situation, and finally faces down his jealousy when he destroys one of the Hexachords.
Joyce looks interested in Bill Webern, whom she later dates (Order of Sharps and Flats), gets engaged to (Half-Note Prince) and marries (Deathly Hockets).

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