A book on chanting
January 5, 2018 7:04 AM   Subscribe

A book on chanting
I wrote a book on joint speech (many speakers, speaking/chanting in unison). Its a science book, but aimed at a general readership. After being unexpectedly dropped by a publisher, I'm self-publishing. Details below. The book is available as a free pdf for tablets or smartphones. The associated website has numerous examples and additional documentation.

Title: The Ground From Which We Speak: Joint speech and the collective subject

Author: Fred Cummins (2018)

URL: http://jointspeech.ucd.ie/index.php/book/

Joint speech is found wherever multiple people say or chant the same text at the same time. Central examples may be found in the solemn recitation of the credo in religious services, in the impassioned chants of protestors for the fall of the regime, in the use of public oaths of allegiance within secular institutions, on the football terraces, in classrooms, and in the informal cacophony of Happy Birthday. There is thus no shortage of empirical material to work with. As language, this use of the voice must appear somewhat odd, as we are used to thinking of language as a game played with distinguished roles for speakers and listeners, creatively generated in the moment, and clearly distinguishable from music or song. Joint speech does not fit this pattern.

In this book, examples of the scientific study of joint speech both in the wild and in the laboratory are presented, covering topics in phonetics, linguistics, neuroscience and movement science. The canon of scientific work is very small, however, and it is this absence that the book addresses most directly. Collective aspirations, collective intentions and collective passions are not easily addressed within the contemporary human sciences. After reviewing extant scientific work, the book turns to the emerging vocabulary of enaction as a possible way to develop a scientific account suited to treating of different forms of collective behaviour and identity.

This book will be of potential interest to a broad audience. The topics covered are wide ranging, but familiar, and the discussion is couched at a level accessible to the interested reader without presupposing any specific technical background.
It is being published online, and is available in PDF form formatted for either laptop/tablet or smartphone. It may be downloaded, shared, and distributed freely.
Role: Author, scientist
posted by stonepharisee (1 comment total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by J.R. Hartley on January 6, 2018: Can I get an Amen?

Oh exciting! I took part in an undergrad research project on choral singing that used joint speech as one of the control conditions, and yes the student found there wasn't much out there on that. This sounds so great.
posted by lokta at 2:07 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]

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