Joni Mitchell (1943–)
Born Roberta Joan Anderson, Joni Mitchell is another legend of not only folk music, but of rock music as well. She is a Canadian singer-songwriter who recorded her first album at the age of twenty-five in New York. Relying purely on her voice and acoustic guitar playing, her first two albums,
Outside of the guitar and music in general, Joni Mitchell is a visual artist. She has either painted or photographed all the artwork for her album covers, an indication of her need for self-expression.
In the albums
As a guitarist, Mitchell has done amazing work with special guitar tunings (known as “Joni's weird tunings”). Almost every song she composed on the guitar uses an open or nonstandard tuning. The use of alternative tunings allows more varied and complex harmonies to be played on the guitar, without the need for difficult chord shapes. One of the most innovative uses of technology is Joni's use of the Roland VG-8 guitar system and a custom made Parker Guitar strung with six open E strings. The VG-8 is programmed to receive the output of each string and change the pitch to any note the player desires. This system is perfect for Joni as she simply steps on one of the five pedals on the VG-8 and goes through her many different tunings without ever having to touch a tuning peg!
Like many artists from her generation, Joni feels the music industry has become a place she doesn't want to visit. She primarily works on her visual art and will not tour or give a concert. She has, however, considered a comeback, which may see a release of new material via the Internet. To see the essence that is Joni Michell, watch