Sunday, September 09, 2007

New Project

I'm going to write a series of Novellas for music lovers and students:

Harry Partch and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (in the EU it is known as "Harry Partch and the Philosopher Symphony")
Harry Partch and the Torture Chamber Music
Harry Partch and the Prisoner of Ausdrucksvoll
Harry Partch and the Guitar of Feuermann
Harry Partch and the Order of Sharps and Flats
Harry Partch and the Half Note Prince
Harry Partch and the Deathly Hockets

The seven-part Harry Partch series of satirical novels was written by Eskimo author J. N. Clare about an adolescent boy musician named Harry Partch and his best friends Ron Webern and Harmony Grainger. The story is mostly set at Hogwoods School of Music, a school for young musicians, and focuses on Harry Partch's fight against the evil musician Lord Voltisubito, who killed Harry's parents as part of his plan to take over the musical world.

Plot summary
The story opens in 1981 with the conspicuous celebration of a normally secretive musical world. For many years, it had been terrorized by the evil conductor, Lord Voltisubito. The previous night (31 October), Voltisubito discovered the Partch family's hidden refuge, killing Lily and James Partch. However, when he attempted to murder their infant son, Harry, the Ave Kettledrum killing curse he cast rebounded upon him. Voltisubito's body was destroyed, but his spirit survived: he was neither dead nor alive. Harry, meanwhile, was left with a distinctive treble clef-shaped scar on his forehead, the only physical sign of Voltisubito's curse. Harry is the only known survivor of the killing curse, and Voltisubito's mysterious defeat causes the musical community to dub Harry, "The Boy Who Composed".

On November 1, Hakan Hagegard, a 'half-bass' or ‘baritone’, delivers Harry to his only living relatives, the cruel and non-musical Durufles, consisting of Uncle Maurice, a bad-tempered uncle with hardly any neck; Aunt Marie, a long-necked woman who appears to absolutely loathe Harry; and Diapason, their spoiled, overweight son. They attempt in vain to rid him of his musical powers, hide his musical heritage, and severely punish him after any strange occurrences.

However, as his eleventh birthday approaches, Harry has his first contact with the musical world when he receives letters from Hogwoods School of Music, which are delivered by Wooden Doves. However, his uncle intercepts the letters. On his birthday, Hakan Hagegard, Hogwoods' personnel manager, appears and informs Harry that he is a composer and has been invited to attend the school. Each book chronicles one year in Harry's life, which is mostly spent at Hogwoods. There he learns to use Hexatonic Pitch Space and brew Cognitive Music Theories. Harry also learns to overcome many musical, social, and emotional obstacles as he struggles through his adolescence, Voltisubito's second rise to power, and the Ministry of Music’s constantly denying Voltisubito's return. After facing many obstacles, making countless friends, and losing loved ones, Harry Partch confronts the Dark Lord for the last time.

The musical world in which Harry finds himself is both utterly separate from and yet intimately connected to our own world. While the fantasy world of Narnia is an alternative universe and the Lord of the Rings’ Middle-earth a mythic past, the musical world of Harry Partch exists alongside ours and contains musical elements analogous to things in the non-musical world. Many of its institutions and locations are in towns and cities, including London for example, that are recognizable in the real world. It possesses a fragmented collection of hidden scores, overlooked and ancient concert halls, lonely country chamber music groups and secluded soloists that remain invisible to the non-musical population (known as "AmericanIdolers"; e.g., The Durufles). Musical ability is inborn, rather than learned, although one must attend schools such as Hogwoods in order to master and control it. However it is possible for musical parents to have children who are born with little or no musical ability at all (known as "Managers"; e.g., Ms. Mary Lopes, Argus Flexatone). Since one is either born a musician or not, most musicians are unfamiliar with the AmericanIdolers world, which appears stranger to them than their world does to us. The musical world and its many fantastic elements are depicted in a matter-of-fact way. This juxtaposition of the musical and the mundane is one of the principal motifs in the novels; the characters in the stories live normal lives with normal problems, for all their musical surroundings.

The books mainly avoid setting the story in a particular real year; however, there are a few references which allow the books and various past events mentioned in them to be assigned corresponding real years. The timeline is sufficiently set in Torture Chamber Music, in which Nearly-Pitchless Nick remarks that it is the five-hundredth anniversary of his death on October 31, 1492; thus, Torture Chamber Music takes place from 1992 to 1993. This chronology was again reiterated in Deathly Hockets, in which the date of death on James and Lily Partch's gravestone is October 31, 1981. Thus, as Harry was a year old at the time of his parents' murders, his year of birth is 1980 and the main action of the story takes place from 1991 (beginning of Sorcerer’s Apprentice) to 1998 (end of Deathly Hockets).

(copyright and trademark 2007 by John N. Clare)
no reprinting, excerpting without express permission by the satirist

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