The Music of Hitchhiker Graffiti

Around 1941, American composer Harry Partch was walking along the highway outside Barstow, California (in the Mojave Desert). He sat down to rest, and then he noticed that hitchhikers had written graffiti all over the white railing that ran along the side of the road. He transcribed the graffiti and turned it into a musical composition he called "Barstow: Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions." Click here to read the text of the graffiti. In the clip below, you can hear Partch himself perform the song. Blogger (and composer) Drew Baker describes the piece as "a surreal and sometimes inebriated sound world." How would you describe it?

Apparently quite a few people have looked for the graffiti that inspired Partch, but I haven't read of anyone finding it.

Partch was also known for creating strange musical instruments such as the Crychord, Surrogate Kithara, Harmonic Canon, Eucal Blossom, and the Spoils of War. In the picture below, he's playing his "Cloud Chamber Bowls" that he made out of pyrex containers, cut in half, that had been used in cloud chamber experiments at the University of California Radiation Laboratory.

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 26, 2012
     Category: Music

For those of you who have NOT spent $80,000 on 4 years of college be advised that this is called "ART". It is a word that is used to encompass many and varied forms of useless pursuits most times with with results that can only be properly appreciated by those who have been brainwashed schooled to deeper understanding.

The only remaining, absent factor that would have raised this artist's offering to world class status is the obvious absence of government funding.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/26/12 at 11:54 AM
This reminds me of the Stephen King short story about the travelling salesman who collects random pieces of graffiti. Gonna have to google it because my books are all packed up still.....aha! "All That You Love Will be Carried Away" always a delight to read Mr. King's work (even if it gives us nightmares later).
Posted by Anonypenguin on 06/26/12 at 12:54 PM
I used to do SK like religion until he started trying to sell me screen plays. The final straw was that "installment" version of The Green Mile. Up till then I had, mostly, 1st editions!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/26/12 at 01:16 PM
As for the instrument side of Mr. Partch, it looks like he was following in the tradition of Spike Jones use of the "latrinophone" in his work. A few of those "bells" pictured look suspiciously like cuts from commercial water bottles.
Posted by KDP on 06/26/12 at 03:06 PM
That was awful (all 22 sec I could stand). I like Stephen King also Dean Koontz, they are both very good in the horror genre.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 06/26/12 at 11:41 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.