Involvement in Chorus: Collective Feeling and Alfred Schutz’s Theory

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Naomi MIYAMOTO, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
This presentation will analyse singing in chorus and community consciousness in terms of Alfred Schutz’s argument in “Making Music Together”. Chorus is one of the typical activities involved in making music together in leisure time. Here, I focus on chorus as not an artistic activity, but singing experience in daily life.
As an example of a chorus, I will treat the Japanese popular folksong, ‘Furusato’ (‘My Old Country Home’), which was frequently performed by choruses directly after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011; it was sung by performers and audiences as the encore at concerts or in theatres as well as at various charity events to overcome the disaster and realise a national bond. This song is generally regarded as important because of its lyrics, which depict an old Japanese landscape, but it is also significant that the song was sung in unison; people sang together the same melody simultaneously. As such, they shared a communal memory and feeling which the song invoked through the collective act of singing without verbal communication.
While Schutz emphasised a ‘tuning-in’ relationship and ‘we-feeling’ in general as non-language communication when making music, the type of community may vary according to singing form and context. When ‘Furusato’ was spontaneously sung in unison chorus at various events after the Earthquake, its community-feeling might have been different from that which would be inspired by chorus at a concert hall based on regular practices in advance. I will discuss what type of singing in chorus may arise, what type of ‘we-feeling’ there is and ultimately rethink Schutz’s theory.