10 Pages

1The Stylistic Method

A SONG style, like other human things, is a pattern of learned behavior, com­ mon to the people of a culture, Singing is a specialized act of communica­ tion, akin to speech, but far more formally organized and redundant. Be­ cause of its heightened redundancy, singing attracts and holds the attention of groups; indeed, as in most primitive societies, it invites group partici­ pation. Whether chorally performed or not, however, the chief function of song is to express the shared feelings and mold the joint activities of some human community. It is to be expected, therefore, that the content of the sung communication should be social rather than individual, normative rather than particular. The cantometric experiment has, in fact, shown that song style is an excellent indicator of cultural pattern.