What it’s all about!

Inspired by and contributing to the development of Susan Philipsz’s public artwork Station Clock, Twelve Tones is a year-long citywide initiative, engaging communities across Birmingham and Solihull to explore sound in relation to place and time, in a series of artist-led workshops and sharing events.

The project will cultivate dialogue between the UK’s second city’s diverse communities – from young to old; across all genders; races and faiths; differing social backgrounds; professional and amateur vocalists – a breadth of humanity.

Launched by Susan Philipsz in a workshop with Royal Birmingham Conservatoire students in November 2018, throughout 2019 and into early 2020, Twelve Tones will deliver artist-led sound art workshops with communities across Birmingham and Solihull. In a series of workshops and sharing events, the Twelve Tones artist-composer team will work with fifty-five community groups to explore the twelve tone chromatic scale utilised in Station Clock and discover how sound can be experienced sculpturally in the public realm.

Workshop participants will be invited to record and contribute their voice to become part of Station Clock, as one of the 1,092 voices that will sing one or more of the twelve tones in union, harmony and dissonance, on the hour, every hour, seven days a week.

Progress to date

Station Clock ‘Twelve Tones’ sessions are progressing well.  This is the part of our project where we spread the word about the Birmingham Big Art Project via a diverse range of community groups across Birmingham and Solihull and invite people to have their voice recorded for use in the artwork – aiming for 1,092 voices, in total and each one sounding a tone.  These tones will represent the diverse voices of Birmingham and Solihull and will constitute the harmonics of the artwork.

Community engagement workshops with over 300 participants from all over Birmingham have been held so far this year, with some large groups (schools and choirs) lined up to take part in the next few months.

Successful recordings days took place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in June and July – we have now recorded 222 of the 1,092 voices to be recorded.

Want to Get involved

If you know of a community group in Birmingham or Solihull who would like to be involved, please get in touch. Just email [email protected]

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