I sing with a couple of vocal music groups, the OCC included, and often feel remarkably better when I leave than when I arrive at either a practice or performance.  I never really thought about it very much, just enjoyed the fact.  If anything, I’ve attributed it to the group itself, or the director.  Even when the choice of music isn’t my favorite, I find I’m friendlier with the individuals involved after we sing.  Apparently there’s a reason for this.

Bjorn Vickhoff, a musicologist in Sweden conducted a study wherein the individual heart rates of a choir of 18 young people were measured as they sang.  Within a very short time, breathing in at the same time, and singing the notes together, their heart rates synchronized.

I think he was studying their singing simple hymns, and wonder what the results would be if they sang complex rhythms or polyphony.  At any rate, I think it’s fascinating.

by Dianne Kopser
Sop 2