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date: 25 April 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how theories of identity construction can usefully inform choral praxis. It starts with an outline of key concepts in theories of identity and how they can help us understand the processes by which choirs inculcate their members into their particular choral culture. It then examines three areas particularly salient for the choral leader. The first is the phenomenon of “non-singers”: how they emerge as a by-product of western cultural discourses, and what can be done to rehabilitate them. The second is the interpenetration of social and musical identity categories: how elements we may think of as “purely” musical are constructed in terms of wider social categories, including the habitus of the cultural environment, and the implications for how we frame the choral techniques we use. The third is the relationship between individual and group: how an ensemble establishes a corporate, supra-personal identity, and ways to facilitate this.

Keywords: identity construction, choral praxis, theories of identity, habitus, cultural discourses

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