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First solo release from vocalist, movement artist and composer Elaine Mitchener, whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary music theatre and performance art. Solo Throat draws on the work of African-American and African-Caribbean poets Kamau Brathwaite, Aimé Césaire, Una Marson and N. H. Pritchard as source material for twelve new vocal compositions Elaine Mitchener is a veteran of vocal expression in the global Black Avant Garde, traversing free improvisation, cross-disciplinary music theatre and contemporary composition with clarity and joy. Most recently, Mitchener has been improvising and composing with the written word as source material - challenging classical ensembles with her piece (“the/e so/ou/nd be/t/ween”), and commissioning composers Matana Roberts, Jason Yarde and George Lewis to respond to the work of Sylvia Wynter (“On Being Human as Praxis”, Donaueschinger Musiktage, 2020). Her performance of Umbra poet N.H Pritchard’s text FR/OG at OTO in 2021 was a revelation - a solo vocal recasting of the powerful visual-material form that Pritchard uses to disrupt semantic ‘sense’. Building on this performance, Solo Throat takes the work of Pritchard alongside poets Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Aimé Césaire and Una Marson as its source material. Its compositions are a loose translation - a carrying from text to voice which holds multiplicity and celebrates the transformative power of literary possibility. Surrendered to the spacing and repetition of consonants and vowels, Michener’s exceptional phonetic freedom gives rise to a sensuous experience which intensifies the roles of rhythm, timbre and breath in expressing meaning. Solo Throat comes together as much through difference as similarity. Mitchener’s own solo improvisations sit alongside the work of Brathwaite, Césaire, Marson and Pritchard, forming a constellation of unlikely alignments which make no aesthetic conclusion. Instead, Solo Throat is a site of encounter, an irreducibly plural de-composition of words into a heterogeneous assemblage of sounds and impulses, emphasising what Anthony Reed calls, “the play on and the surplus of margins of lyrical translation to resituate other pathways of expression”. Just as the poets cited use white space to complicate our act of reading, so Mitchener utilises silence and multiphonics to complicate the act of voicing and the way we listen. — Elaine Mitchener is a British Afro-Caribbean vocalist, movement artist and composer working between contemporary/experimental new music, free improvisation and visual art. She is currently a Wigmore Hall Associate Artist; was a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellow (2022) and was an exhibiting artist in the British Art Show 9 (2021-22). In February 2022 Mitchener was awarded an MBE for Services to Music. Her regular collaborators include: composers George E Lewis, Jennifer Walshe, and Tansy Davies; visual artists Sonia Boyce, Christian Marclay and The Otolith Group; chamber ensembles Apartment House, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble MAM, Ensemble Klang, and Klangforum Wien; choreographer Dam van Huynh’s company; and experimental musicians such as Moor Mother, Loré Lixenberg, Pat Thomas, Jason Yarde, Neil Charles and David Toop. — Recorded and engineered by Sean Woodlock at Hackney Road StudiosMastered by Sean McCannLayout by Jeroen WilleAll music and artwork by Elaine Mitchener

Elaine Mitchener – Solo Throat

A fascinating interdisciplinary approach to how everyday Western music works, and why the tones, melodies, and chords combine as they do. Despite the cultural diversity of our globalized world, most Western music is still structured around major and minor scales and chords. Countless thinkers and scientists of the past have struggled to explain the nature and origin of musical structures. In Psychoacoustic Foundations of Major-Minor Tonality, music psychologist Richard Parncutt offers a fresh take, combining music theory—Rameau's fundamental bass, Riemann's harmonic function, Schenker's hierarchic analysis, Forte's pitch-class set theory—with psychology—Bregman's auditory scene, Terhardt's virtual pitch, Krumhansl's tonal hierarchy. Drawing on statistical analyses of notated music corpora, Parncutt charts a middle path between cultural relativism and scientific positivism to bring music theory into meaningful discourse with empirical research. Our musical subjectivity, Parncutt explains, depends on our past musical experience and hence on music history and its social contexts. It also depends on physical sound properties, as investigated in psychoacoustics with auditory experiments and mathematical models. Parncutt's evidence-based theory of major-minor tonality draws on his interdisciplinary background to present a theory that is comprehensive, creative, and critical. Examining concepts of interval, consonance, chord root, leading tone, harmonic progression, and modulation, he asks: • Why are some scale tones and chord progressions more common than others? • What aspects of major-minor tonality are based on human biology or general perceptual principles? What aspects are culturally arbitrary? And what about colonial history? Original and provocative, Psychoacoustic Foundations of Major-Minor Tonality promises to become a foundational text in both music theory and music cognition.

Richard Parncutt – Psychoacoustic Foundations of Major-Minor Tonality

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