Singing considered harmful
  • Chrism
    Posts: 869
    A few articles to consider:

    1. From Quillette, a long and engaging analysis by a non-scientist of some of the so-called "super spreader events" where many people were infected at a single time.

    When do COVID-19 [super spreader events] happen? Based on the list I’ve assembled, the short answer is: Wherever and whenever people are up in each other’s faces, laughing, shouting, cheering, sobbing, singing, greeting, and praying.
    The Skagit example is particularly interesting, because the organizers were aware of the COVID-19 risk beforehand, and took the precaution of spacing out the participants by several feet. If they had been merely chatting, instead of singing, no one might have gotten sick.

    2. A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) leak apparently says the following:

    The guidelines suggest that faith communities consider limiting gatherings to those that can be held virtually or streamed online, for phase one.

    For all three phases, the CDC recommends that faith communities consider temporarily limiting the sharing of prayer books and worship materials, and consider using a stationary collection box or mail or electronic payment instead of the traditional shared collection trays or baskets; and avoid or consider suspending choir or musical ensembles during religious services.

  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,732
    And the evidence for this... Anecdotes do not make datas. Also to be scientific it would need a control as part of a properly conducted experiment!
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  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    I will not be surprised if liturgical singing will be severely limited. Especially if masks are to be worn by people in close proximity in public gatherings (as opposed to distantly placed ministers).
  • @tomjaw Choirs have long been considered high risk activities for the spreading of any disease that can be transmitted via aerosolized particles. This is not new.

    Here's recent relevant data:

    There are 54 citations, if you'd like to explore.

    If you'd like to get even further into the science, look into the term "Aerosol Transmissible Disease."
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,732
    considered high risk activities
    But the paper mentioned volume, so shouting is just as bad, and the length of time chatting will also make a difference. While this makes sense, I have yet to note a greater death rate in choirs of respiratory diseases... If this really had a major effect we would see members of choirs dying every Flu season.
    This would also apply in schools with teachers, are schools really that dangerous?

    Reminds me of the Chemical safety paperwork, yes it says it is harmful, and what does 'harmful' mean, it means you can take a bath in it and survive! I always had copies of the risk assessments for the use of Oxygen and Water to hand ready to show to people who objected to some aspect of my safety paperwork.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    shouting is just as bad

    Yes, but nobody will be near-continuously screaming for nearly an hour on a regular basis.

    I don't understand the desire to try and find pedantic holes in expert advice over and over again on this forum.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,777
    The paper Sargeantedward links is from the Air Quality Research Center, University of California Davis, where I was a high school intern (my first and last scientific publication was a protocol for resuspending smokestack ash in a laboratory setting). It's a pity they didn't consider questions from a singer's standpoint! They only note that pitch goes up as subjects are asked to say "ah" louder, but given the two mechanisms considered (lung formation vs. vocal fold abduction) it's surprising they didn't investigate whether sopranos are more dangerous than basses. Given the scope of the study, the finding that coughing is less productive of aerosols than speaking should not give us any idea that gobs landing on surfaces instead of in elbows are a danger that can be sneezed at.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,732
    But do choirs suffer from regular bouts of respiratory diseases, more than the average in the population?

    Also do professional singers have a higher chance of dying of respiratory disease?

    I wonder what factors could protect choirs from the obvious increased risk?

    I am sorry that my definition of expert is different to others, I have worked with many experts and they usually know they are not infallible.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I am not an expert on singing, but it had been my impression that singing improves lung capacity and function. It actually is good for you.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw hilluminar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,410
    I am sure communal singing has benefits. Lung capacity, simple exercise, social interaction, and release of endorphins (which make you feel happy), for instance. But the issue is whether it gives rise to disbenefits as well, such as disease transmission, and whether we have to weigh these against each other..
  • Chris_McAvoyChris_McAvoy
    Posts: 389
    I ask you this, In 2000 years of Church history, where is there precedent for a concern of singing proposing a potential harm to man? When in the past has Holy Mother Church been cautious to sing, except during times of persecution?

    We live in an age of persecution.
    In the state of New York, two weeks ago, the state police marched into a Russian Orthodox monastery of the Holy Trinity in Jordanville (a remote rural location) to prevent monks from worshipping during Holy Week. Threats of confiscating Church property were made and turning off the electricity, yet singing is a threat. They will say that which is good is bad and that which is bad is good. I am in disbelief that anyone here will entertain the idea that singing is harmful.

    May God save those who oppress his Church.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Chrism