Singing-In Community

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Abstract

There is an ancient idea that singing can generate a material difference in what happens to individuals and communities. This article picks up that idea and considers singing through the lens of Moral Force, the collective energy through which human beings generate the social patterns that form communities. Arguing that Moral Force is possible because of our intrinsic sociality, the author applies new understandings of the role of music in human evolution to contend that human sociality and musicality are so intertwined that we can ‘sing-in’ our communities. If we can sing-in our communities, then the types of communities we might sing-in matter, and so the article explores the concept of flourishing communities. Drawing on years of experience with choral singing, the author sketches a framework to guide practices that can be used to support flourishing communities through the medium of singing.