Praise of songs

One of my favourite things in life is music. There is nothing quite like making music en masse, and Glasgow City Chorus is performing the Missa Solemis on Sunday 3oth November in the City Halls. The second soprano section in particular is quite marvellous (not that I’m biased).

There have been various studies reporting the effect of singing on stress, and for improving mental health. I especially like a piece in the British Medical Journal from 1911 suggesting that choral singing prevents TB, and that sight singing could prevent “oral, throat, tracheal, and lung affections”. There is also a great letter just below it commenting on the “quackery” in the “great bulk” of the mainstream press as one of the “great scandals of the present day” – nothing much seems to have changed. More to the point, singing in a choir is a good excuse to get out of the house once a week and leave the ironing/general squalour behind.

Even if one claims no trainable voice, being in the audience seems associated with health. A study from the BMC Public Health from 2007 suggests that attending “cultural activities” is associated with health even when adjusted for socio-economic factors.

If any readers are in the area then and would like to come, I have a couple of spare tickets; drop me a line at margaret.mccartney@ft.com.

Margaret McCartney’s Blog

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A forum on healthcare policy and professional issues, by Glasgow-based GP and FT Weekend columnist Margaret McCartney.

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