Subject: Published Articles by McLeans available for class study on web site
Date: Sat Jan 09 1999 - 07:58:04 EST
Dear friends and colleagues,
Several of you have requested copies of various published articles by
Priscilla or Barton McLean (1976 - present) dealing with matters
pertaining to electroacoustic composition and performance, independent
composer survival issues, and the international new music scene. We
suggest that, in the aggregate, these would make good material for
composition, electroacoustic music, and new music courses, and therefore
invite you to browse them and take what may be useful in your teaching.
All articles are cleared for normal classroom copying and study, and are
easily taken off the web.
The web site for these articles is (case sensitive - note capital "I" in
What follows is a listing of the articles with a brief summary of each.
Barton and Priscilla McLean
oThe McLean Mix: Philosophies and Soliloquies by Barton McLean. Found in
"Asterisk A Journal of New Music," Vol 2 #2, May, 1976. Ann Arbor,
MIchigan.An often humorous early cross-section of the first concerts and
tours by Priscilla and Barton McLean, as they begin their first
tentative steps into touring.
oFire and Ice: A Query by Priscilla McLean. Seen in "Perspectives of
New Music, " Fall/Winter 1977. Some valuable insights into the
theoretical basis of what she calls "imago - abstract" sounds, which are
those sounds that are both electronic and that have a subconscious
meaning in the human mind beyond their immediate context. Forms a
theoretical basis for electronic sounds that are outside traditional
tonal pitch-rhythm contexts.
oCoping with Shattered Illusions by Barton McLean. Appearing in
"Polyphony" (which was the forerunner of "Electronic Musician," Jan/Feb.
1980, pp. 9-11, 20. Some theoretical and practical considerations in
composing for live instrument and tape, with examples from McLean's
oZagreb's Music Biennale No. 11 by Priscilla McLean. In "Musical
America," October, 1981, pp. 33-34. This is one of several reviews and
articles Priscilla wrote for Musical America, and gives an insight into
the contemporary music scene in Europe at that time period, along with
some personal experiences of The McLean Mix as they participated in this
oThe McLean Mix: Inner Tension of the Surrealistic by Priscilla and
Barton McLean. AWC News (American Women Composers), January 1982, Vol.
3 #3, pp. 8-14. Another slice of McLean Mix touring and a theoretical
basis for their approach as analogous with Surrealism.
oSymbolic Extension and its Corruption of Music by Barton McLean.
Appearing in "Perspectives of New Music", Fall-Winter 1981-Spring-Summer
1982 (Vol. 20, nos. 1 &2). In this seminal piece, McLean explores ideas
by cultural anthropoligist Edward T. Hall, Marshall McLuhan, Trevor
Wishart, Rollo May, etc.as they apply to some of the fundamental crises
in education (music composition, music theory, and musicology). Central
to his theme is how the "extension" process of of the human mind
(building ever greater theoretical models which ultimately relate to
only themselves and not the underlying music they are subsuming) has
fundamentally corrupted much of what we teach in music theory, history,
and composition. A scathing critique.
oThe McLean Mix Tours Australia -- First Impressions by Priscilla and
Barton McLean. "Sounds Australian" (the equivalent to the American Music
Center publication), #28, Summer, 1990, pp. 32-33. A vivid account of
The McLean Mix Pacific Rim tour and some comparisons between new music
support in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA.
oTouring the South Pacific: Images of Faraway Places by Barton McLean.
Appearing in the "Journal SEAMUS ," Nov. 1990. Describes an extended
tour-adventure of the McLeans' duo The McLean Mix in the Pacific Rim
(Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii), along with insights into their
respective contemporary music scenes and composers.
oComposition with Sound and Light by Barton McLean. "Leonardo Journal,"
Vol 2, No. 1, pp. 19-22, 1992. McLean describes two interlocking
aspects of his work: (1) the MIDI keyboard-controlled Sparkling Light
Console which he developed, along with (2) the esthetic considerations
developing a new abstract medium of light with which to compose.
oThe McLean Mix Muses Upon the Ultimate Musical Instrument by Priscilla
and Barton McLean. "Experimental Musical Instruments," Sept. 1994, pp.
20-23. Two ideas run through this article. First, esthetic and
practical consideration of adoping natural sounds (the "ultimate musical
instrument") to a compositional approach. Second, exploring how the
McLeans invent instruments of their own (natural or hi-tech) as their
compositional needs require.
oA Professional Composer's View of the Theory/Composition Curriculum and
its Relevance to the Community-at-Large by Barton McLean. "The SCI
Newsletter," Vol. 25, #7, Aug/Sept. 1995. This is the piece which
stirred a hornet's nest of controversy among university teachers of
composition and theory. These reverberations echoed through two years of
rebuttal and counter-rebuttal in the SCI Newsletter's pages. It explores
the relevance of today's typical comp/theory curricula and its relevance
(or lack thereof) to the larger arts community and to the career
prospects of the students.
oIn Search of an Audience: Outside the Bubble by Barton McLean. "
Journal SEAMUS," April '96, Vol. 11, #1, pp. 4-7. Where have the large,
enthusiastic audiences for electroacoustic music of the 60's and 70's
gone? McLean explores some reasons for the separation of abstract
electroacoustic music from the arts community audience in general, and
offers personal insights into how he and his wife Priscilla, as The
McLean Mix, grapple with this problem as they make their full-time
living from touring.
oTUNUGAN -- A Report by Priscilla McLean. "Society of Composers, Inc.,
Newsletter," Vol 27 #6, June/July '97. The McLean Mix was recently
chosen as the USA representative of the International Asian Composers
League Festival -- TUNUGAN in Manila, Philippines. Priscilla's
subsequent report details fascinating insights into how Asian serious
composers interact, along with similarities and differences between
Western and Asian composers. Included is a hair-raising account of the
McLean Mix's outdoor performance in a courtyard with an impending
typhoon on the horizon.
oPlanting the Seeds of Music Technology in Borneo by Priscilla McLean.
"Journal SEAMUS," Vol. 13, #1, April, '98, pp. 4-7. "The trip of a
lifetime," as Barton and Priscilla McLean, at the invitation of the
government of Malaysia, establish residency at the Universiti
Malaysia-Sarawak for 4 months, undergoing extensive field trips into the
pristine jungle, living with former headhunter tribes, partaking of the
rich Islamic culture, recording and documenting tribal musics and nature
sounds never before heard outside the country.
oJAMBORI RIMBA: Audience-Interactive Installation by Barton McLean.
This is a companion to the above and describes what the McLeans did as a
final project for their residency in Malaysia -- a project which was
subsequently broadcast nationally over the Malaysia TV -1 network.
oHow to Survive and Prosper as Revealed by the "Newsletter Nine" by
Barton McLean. "Society of Composers, Inc. "Newsletter," Vol. 13,
Aug/Sept '98. As a member of the Executive Committee of SCI
(Independent Composer Representative), McLean coordinated a series of
articles in the SCI Newsletter by nine independent composers who are
succeeding in making a full-time living from their work. Many lessons were
gleaned from these pieces, including a few real surprises. In this
article, McLean summarizes his conclusions drawn from working with these
Barton and Priscilla McLean
55 Coon Brook Rd.
Petersburg, NY, 12138, USA
(518) 658 3595
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