Ledarna i kören: Vokala samarbeten mellan körsångare

Sverker Zadig

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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In Western European choral traditions, the ambition of most choirs is to attain an equalized blend of sound and to perform well together with regard to timing and intonation. In order to be able to synchronize this the choir members need to cooperate musically and listen to each other. Choirs often have close bonds, both socially and with regard to their common musical aim to perform well in concerts.
The aim of this doctoral thesis is to explore and describe musical cooperation between choral singers. A reason to join and sing in a choir may be that you don’t have to be a soloist but rather can fit in the weave of voices, relying on other choir singers for support.
This thesis focuses on the existence of informal leaders in the choral voice, a field that has so far not been very much researched. The thesis is built on four articles focusing in different ways on informal leaders. The research has been carried out as qualitative studies based both on interviews and on recordings of choral singers.
Article I was an interview study on how experienced Swedish choral conductors understand musical collaborations between the singers and consequences of such collaborations for choral work. Article II and III both examined how singers act in the choir while singing together. Article II was trying out a method to record the individual singers on separate tracks by using head-set microphones and then by using a computer software converting these tracks into graphs that could be analysed. By way of this method, Article III examined how individuals can take the lead and how other singers follow along. Finally, Article IV was built on focus group interviews with stimulated recall from earlier sessions with the singers.
As a theoretical framework, Communities of Practice as presented by Wenger was used. The results showed that there are informal leaders in the choral voices, although sometimes they are not even aware of this themselves. Also, the social practice field was useful to find that choral singers and choirs share the three main concepts of (i) mutual engagement, (ii) joint enterprise and (iii) shared repertoire.
Highlighting informal musical leadership in choirs can help improve choral work and to develop choirs with regard to precision, articulation and blend, aspects that can be controlled by an informal musical leader.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Teachers (Malmö Academy of Music)
  • Folkestad, Göran, Supervisor
  • Lyberg Åhlander, Viveka, Supervisor
Award date2017 Mar 24
Place of PublicationMalmö
EditionStudies in music and music education 2017:1
ISBN (Print)978-91-88409-07-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 24

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Music
  • Pedagogy

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