Adapted Guitar II
Partch's Adapted Guitar II is a Hawaiian-type guitar, consisting of ten strings which are typically tuned to Harry's 16/9 Otonality or 4/3 Utonality. The headstock has a mechanism that allows the player to change the tuning in just a few seconds. Like Adapted Guitar I, this guitar is placed upon the lap and played like a slide guitar.
At nearly seven feet tall, Kithara II requires players to stand on a riser. On one side (visible in this photograph), the riser is movable, and can be taken away with no effect. On the other, the body of the Kithara opens into the riser, using it as a resonator. Kithara II has twelve sets of six strings which correspond to Partch's primary tonalities; four of these employ Pyrex rods as movable bridges.
Harmonic Canon III
Harmonic Canon III, also called Blue Rainbow, has two resonating boxes with 44 strings across the top. These rest on a frame supported by a blue arch, both giving the instrument its name and allowing the canons to bounce and sway while being played. In this photo, the bridges are set for Delusion of the Fury.
Harmonic Canon II
Castor & Pollux
Harmonic Canon II, also called Castor and Pollux, features two resonating boxes with 44 strings across the top; these boxes rest in a redwood tray. Bridges are placed beneath the strings specifically for the tuning of each composition. In this photo, the bridges are set for U.S. Highball.
The Diamond Marimba, aside from being a prominent percussion instrument in many of Partch's works, is also a physical manifestation of one of his crucial theoretical concepts, the Tonality Diamond. The instrument contains all twelve of his primary tonalities, each laid out in a series of thirds. In total, the Diamond Marimba has 29 distinct pitches, each of which is a member of two or more tonalities.
The top of the bars of Harry's Bass Marimba are five feet above the floor, and the player must stand on a riser which is six feet wide and just over two feet tall, making competent footwork just as important as skilled hands for any Bass Marimbist. Each bar is situated over an organ pipe which serves as a resonator.
Spoils of War
The Spoils of War takes its name from the seven artillery casings that hang from the top of the instrument. The main body of the Spoils of War also serves as a resonator for the pernambuco bar on top. The instrument also has four Cloud-Chamber Bowls, two pieces of tongued bamboo, one woodblock, three steel Whang Guns, and a guiro.
Among the most iconic of Partch’s instruments, the Cloud-Chamber Bowls are large Pyrex gongs with a beautiful and complex sound. Partch initially discovered the Cloud-Chamber Bowls at the University of California, Berkeley, where portions of Pyrex carboys were discarded by the Radiation Laboratory. Over the years, he would cut countless new Cloud-Chamber Bowls to expand his set or replace those which had broken.
The Eucal Blossom has 33 sections of tuned thick-walled bamboo and produces crisp, bright tones. The instrument rests on a large circular disc which is supported by a branch of eucalyptus.
Gourd Tree & Cone Gongs
Although the Gourd Tree and the Cone Gongs are entirely separate instruments, they are often handled by the same player. The Gourd Tree has twelve temple bells attached to gourd resonators, each of which hangs suspended from a eucalyptus branch. The cone gongs are sections of two nose cones from airplane fuel tanks, mounted on a small redwood base in a way that suggests a strange variety of mushroom.