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Singing ‘In Time’: Social entrainment and psalm chanting                                                                                                                 

Author’s name and university affiliation:

Guy Hayward - Centre of Music and Science, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge                       

Names and affiliations of other researchers involved in project

Ian Cross (PhD supervisor)                        


entrainment, rhythm, social interaction, music, emotion, phonology, evolutionary psychology                          


My PhD will explore how groups of people synchronise movement and sound whilst singing psalms. It will be argued that music, as a communicative ‘tool’, allows people to share emotions and intentions, and therefore this research will explore questions that concern the social, emotional, and embodied aspects of music. The ability to perform ‘in time’ with others is crucially important in practically all forms of music. By identifying the specific conditions (e.g. specific body gestures, eye contact etc.) that allow choirs to sing in time whilst singing psalms, it is hoped that inferences may be drawn as to how we achieve this remarkable feat. This research undertaken will have implications for music education, because it highlights the importance of rhythmic body movements in creating the conditions in which people can ‘bond’ with each other. Therefore, music education should focus on developing bodily awareness when teaching individuals how to keep ‘in time’ with each other.   


24th March 2011                        

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Contact details

gdh26@cam.ac.uk, LinkedIn profile: Guy Hayward, see also attached photo.                        



Other academic interests of Guy Hayward concern the rhythm of body movements when people greet each other, (i.e. during 'phatic' interaction, or 'small talk'); and the archaeology of 'soundscapes', (i.e. the study of prehistoric acoustic spaces and how they might have influenced music throughout human evolution).                      
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