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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Kaleea Disappearance of communal singing in US (59* d) RE: Disappearance of communal singing in US 03 Apr 12

This is a subject which really hits home with me!

I also was fortunate to grow up with singing around the piano with my family. When I discovered harmony, I thought it was greatest invention & to this day still prefer singing harmony. (This is considered abnormal for a "Soprano.") When I was a kid & the relatives gathered, there was normally singing going on, piano or no. In fact, when my family gathers nowadays, we still sing! Even my nieces & nephews can sing all the harmony parts of the old Beatles' songs. Christmas carols, Beatles, Jazz standards, etc., it's fun to sing along with other singers!

As a retired Music Educator I can assure you that the lack of Music in our public schools is one reason that people do little or no communal singing. In the past few decades, "we" have not been teaching our children the enjoyment of singing with (or without) a group. I have noticed the lack of good pitch become the norm in the younger generations--which is not the way it used to be when Music was taught in most all public elementary schools in the USA. Even before we had Music Teachers, the Elementary Educator was normally trained to teach singing--often with the use of the Autoharp, Guitar or A Capella.

[Note: the following paragraph is NOT an editorial rant, merely the observations of this ol' gal.]

The downward spiral of poor pitch has paralleled the lack of melody in much of our popular recordings. Fortunately, there are genres of popular Music which still use an actual melody on the track, which therefore can be categorized as a song. However, much of what is recorded in recent decades has screaming & yelling or speaking to the beat, or a singsong type of vocalizing, which has no discernible melody and therefore cannot be categorized as a song. While someone may chant the words along with the recording, one cannot sing along to that which is not a song. Accurate pitch is not a requirement to record or chant along to the track.

Blues=Life, Yes! The Praise genre has brought about changes in the music of many churches. With the "Praise" genre, the Hymnal & therefore the well known hymns were thrown out the stained glass window. Congregants who don't have an "ear" for Music, as well as visitors, have no way to join in. It takes a long time to learn all the new songs, & many people-even those who enjoy singing--just give up trying.

Ever seen those paper bound, small songbooks which were often titled "Community Songs" or something similar at antique malls or estate sales? It used to be that most every community had these books for the purpose of their general community singing well known songs of the day-often with a section of songs from the old country/ies. The person/family brought their copy to gatherings held in the park on Sundays or other occasions. Then as the town band played on the bandstand, the crowd could join in song.

Thanks for letting me carry on about all this, Mudcatters.

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