In Why Do People Sing? Paddy Scannell explores some of the mysteries at the heart of vocal communication. What explains the communicative musicality of the voices between parent and child as a baby learns to talk? Can readers of fiction hear the voices of authors and characters within soundless written texts? How has radio affected voice, talk, music, and singing, and how has it made them public in new ways? And by putting the voice into recordings, to what extent have broadcasting technologies provided a radically new resource for historians? These questions and more are explored in the first three chapters. In the final chapter, Scannell boldly puts into words the inexpressible experience of listening to singing, wherein the glory of the human voice finds its purest expression.
This highly original book makes a distinctive intervention by stressing the inherently positive qualities of talk (rather than language) as the basis for communication. Concise and beautifully written, it is suitable for students and scholars of media, communication, and other disciplines across the humanities, as well as general readers with an interest in this fascinating topic.