Alisun Russell Pawley

Singalongability in Popular Song (14/08/08)

In pubs and clubs today, one often finds a picture akin to that of the traditional Free-and-Easy held in Victorian taverns where the frequenters habitually joined in with the songs being performed. What compels these frequenters to sing along? This seminar presents field research that investigated how individuals sing along to live and recorded music in pubs and clubs across Northern England. The psychological and social aspects of this tradition will be explored, as well as contextual and extra-musical factors involved in whether an individual sings along to a song. The research aims to ascertain what musical characteristics, if any, endow a song with a definable ‘singalongability’. Preliminary results suggest that such a ‘singalongability’ exists, though the act of singing along is ultimately dependent on the context in which the song is received.

Department of Computing, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW

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