Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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The choir as a field of tension

While choral singing is an activity that is thriving in the Nordic countries, choral research is more or less invisible or seems to hide behind other research orientations (Geisler, 2010). The need for contributions to this field is substantial. As a consequence of a qualitative orientation in the social sciences, processes and phenomena in the world need to be described and understood before the development of theories and explanations (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009). One of the goals of this study has been to describe and understand the processes the choir field consists of, on the individual and social, as well as the societal level.

The data of the study consist of a mapping survey of the choir field in the region southern Sunnmøre, participant observation periods in four choirs, and sixteen qualitative research interviews. The analysis is primarily based on the interview material, and I have used the analysis method called stepwise deductive-inductive method (SDI) (Tjora, 2012). The analysis identifies five central themes: (i) motivation, (ii) ownership, (iii) identity, (iv) the social fellowship, and (v) choir and society. These themes have been discussed in relation to theory gathered from psychology, social psychology, organizational psychology and sociology, on a background consisting of modernity theory and narrative theory.

The results of the study are formulated in the concept of the choir as a field of tension, where five tension filled areas, discussed in the analysis chapters, constitute a complex field of tension. In the construction of this field I highlight some contact points between the individual, the social group and the society, in which perspectives from modernity theory are included. This concept of the choir as a field of tension expresses the many parallel and different meanings the choir may have for its members, where varying emphases on motivational factors, ownerships, identity forms and group functions play a part.