Hearts Beat as One

August 15, 2013


I have been singing harmony all my life. It started in the kitchen with my sisters. I was the youngest of five girls, and I just knew there was something special going on in the kitchen when the dishes were being done, and the laughing, the giggling, and the three part harmony would come wafting out of the room. I wanted to be a part of that! So, even though the family rule was you did not have to start washing the dishes until you were six, I begged to be allowed to wash the dishes when I was five. I gave myself a whole extra year of washing dishes just so I could be a part of that harmony.

Now, scientists in Sweden have documented what I knew even as a little girl. That when people sing together, their breathing and their heartbeats synchronize in time with the music, creating a feeling of oneness. Singing in the kitchen just made my sisters and me feel good. We were part of something. The work went faster, and we were, well, one.

The author of the Swedish study, Bjorn Vickhoff of the University of Gothenburg says, “Through song, we can exercise certain control over our mental states. Group singing strengthens solidarity, not just in choirs but among football fans and work crews. When you’re singing together, you are synchronizing with other people, and harmonizing your hearts.”

I like that.

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