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The social organisation of the choir rehearsal: How interaction between conductor and choir is used to shape the choir's singing

Emerson, Kathryn (2018) The social organisation of the choir rehearsal: How interaction between conductor and choir is used to shape the choir's singing. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The aim of this project was to explore the interaction that occurs between conductor and choir in order to develop a better understanding of the ‘unique fingerprint’ of the social activity of choral rehearsals. Little interactional research has previously been carried out in music settings, and what there is mostly focuses on instrumental lessons and masterclasses, which have distinct differences from choirs. The music literature on rehearsals often emphasises best practice, and has a strong focus on school ensembles. Over nineteen hours of choral rehearsal data were collected from eight choirs (nine different conductors; two female), transcribed, and analysed using conversation analysis (CA). The analysis demonstrated many unusual features within the interaction. Findings include a very formal turn-system, with a particularly unusual sung turn in how constrained it is by the conductor’s actions. For example, conductors work hard to launch the turn effectively, may stop it in the midst of the choir’s singing, and use both depiction and verbal utterances to direct, co-construct, and comment on the music while it is ongoing. Directives and assessments are the most prevalent features of the conductors’ feedback turns, and the constant orientation by all parties to improvement over time means that even if only one of the two actions is produced, the other is inferred. The conductors’ feedback also includes large amounts of depiction (including gesture, posture, facial expression and body orientation), verbal description and verbal imagery, which may be used simultaneously to convey more than one meaning or action at the same time. This research contributes to the expanding field of CA research in embodied performance settings, particularly music. It also provides a new methodology for exploring rehearsals in the music literature, which could offer a starting pointing for future research or conductor training programmes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Conversation analysis, conductor, choir, rehearsal
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Human Communication Sciences (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > Human Communication Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Ms Kathryn Emerson
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2019 09:49
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2019 09:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23417

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