By Lloyd Whitesell
Joni Mitchell is likely one of the ultimate singer-songwriters of the past due 20th century. but regardless of her acceptance, effect, and cultural significance, a close appraisal of her musical success continues to be missing. Whitesell offers a via exploration of Mitchell's musical variety, sound, and constitution for you to overview her songs from a musicological point of view. His analyses are conceived inside of a holistic framework that takes account of poetic nuance, cultural reference, and stylistic evolution over a protracted, adventurous occupation. Mitchell's songs characterize a fancy, meticulously crafted physique of labor. The track of Joni Mitchell bargains a complete survey of her output, with many discussions of person songs, prepared through subject instead of chronology. person chapters each one discover a unique element of her craft, comparable to poetic voice, concord, melody, and large-scale shape. A separate bankruptcy is dedicated to the primary subject of non-public freedom, as expressed via assorted symbolic registers of the adventure quest, bohemianism, artistic license, and religious liberation. prior money owed of Mitchell's songwriting have tended to want her poetic imaginative and prescient, expansive verse buildings, and riveting vocal supply. Whitesell fills out this account with unique recognition to musical approach, displaying how such features as advanced or conflicting sonorities, dualities of harmonic mode, dialectical tensions of texture and check in, intricately layered instrumental figuration, and a variable vocal character are all necessary to her distinct identification as a songwriter. The tune of Joni Mitchell develops a suite of conceptual instruments geared in particular to Mitchell's songs, with a purpose to reveal the level of her technical innovation within the pop tune style, to provide an account of the formal sophistication and rhetorical strength characterizing her paintings as a complete, and to supply grounds for the popularity of her highbrow stature as a composer inside her selected box.
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Extra resources for The Music of Joni Mitchell
The kind of portrait painted here is notable for its archetypal quality. The person being pleaded with (“You could have been more”) could be a particular man known to the songwriter but equally seems to stand for a whole generation of consumers settling for a shallow life. The song was written for piano, like ﬁve other songs on the album. 11 Mitchell’s piano style is typiﬁed by a rhythmic matrix of steady rocking ﬁgures in the left hand, with harmonic ﬁll and chordal accents in the right. , G/A, or “G over A”).
In between, many of the ominous accents occur on open, quartal harmonies (chords built of fourths; Ex. 1). , chords in which the middle note of a triad [1,3,5] is replaced by a dissonant note [1,4,5 or 1,2,5 or 1,2,4,5]). 1. , no octave transposition in guitar). 18 | THE MUSIC OF JONI MITCHELL an open, undecided Asus2 (for an explanation of the chord symbols used in this book, see the Appendix). In this, her debut song, Mitchell evokes the ingenue persona of a sunnier folk repertory while setting her within a darkly textured, charged drama of internal conﬂict, frustration, and self-assertion.
B. 33 This scriptural/metaphysical genre exists alongside protest songs similar to those from period 3 (such as “Sex Kills,” “The Magdalene Laundries,” and “Not to Blame,” all from TI). Character portraits remain a favorite genre, as always. Finally, there is a proliferation of retrospective vignettes from her childhood and teenage years (on NRH, these include “Cherokee Louise,” “Come In from the Cold,” and “Ray’s Dad’s Cadillac”). “Cherokee Louise,” a memory of a childhood friend who was sexually abused, is especially interesting in its integration of the portrait, nostalgic, and protest genres.