Title page for ETD etd-09122008-184754

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Barrett, Michael Joseph
Email mbarrett@phsg.org.za
URN etd-09122008-184754
Document Title The value of choral singing in a multi-cultural South Africa
Degree MMus
Department Music
Advisor Name Title
Prof J T van der Sandt Supervisor
  • Nguni music
  • English choirs
  • multicultural
  • social capital
  • Sesotho music
  • Afrikaans choirs
Date 2008-04-09
Availability unrestricted

If singing in a choir could lead to people being healthier, happier and better citizens overall, then there is great value to choral singing in South Africa as well as the rest of the world. Social capital or social “networking” finds great flourishing in choral setups and the aim is to research how the social capital of participants is developed through choir singing and what the significance of musical hobbies is in the progress and expansion of trust associated with the community. A multicultural approach is necessary and allows for an insight into the knowledge of social capital in various cultural contexts.

Singing in a choir is no longer seen as merely an extra curricular or hobby. Choral singing (singing in parts) adds great value to the life of the individual and this ultimately affects the people associated with the singer. The study investigates the motivation for people wanting to sing in choirs, and whether these reasons vary from culture to culture. A background of the main cultural identities in South Africa is discussed, allowing for the grouping of choirs into various language groups and cultural groups.

Social capital forms the backbone of this research and the connection between singing and health; trust; and happiness are explored. Results indicate that choir singing is a priority in a chorister’s life and that the main motivation to sing is too socialise and develop musical skills. Choirs play a decisive role in the construction of unity as a collective and independence as an individual. Questionnaires were distributed across various cultural groups within South Africa in order to collect information. Reasons for wanting to join a choir and the impact of music on the individual and on the greater community are all scrutinized. The value that music has on the life of the individual is significant, and the journey to this happiness is easily obtainable.

Copyright 2007, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Barrett, MJ 2007, The value of choral singing in a multi-cultural South Africa , MMus dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09122008-184754 / >


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