Alexander Pschera

Alexander Pschera, born 1964 in Western Germany, studied German, Philosophy and Music in Heidelberg. He is an author, publicist and translator.

Source: WDnet Creation / Shutterstock.com Instead of singing: Spotify at work

Endangered gestures:
Singing While You Work

For rhythmical co-ordination and other reasons

In times past, worksongs served to rhythmically co-ordinate physical work. Where sledgehammers and threshing flails were wielded, where spinning wheels whirred, where sails were set – everywhere self-made music was involved. Today, you still see it in westerns and sentimental ‘Heimatfilm’ movies. It can’t be ruled out and is of course not objectionable, that this happy singing served to self-motivate, something for which today expensive coaches are hired. This or that highland Bavarian wagoner’s song (“I hab halt zwoa kohlschwarze Rössa, sand eigspannt in an großn Wagn” – “I have two coal-black steeds, are harnessed to a large cart”) may also have conveyed a certain pride in one’s social class. After all, worksongs mirrored society and portrayed them from one end to the other. However, the end of physical work and the extinction of the objects with which one had to contend while working, also meant the end of singing, which is understandable: For what should bank or insurance clerks sing about? They‘re not even allowed to whistle. It might disturb colleagues and customers. Instead, people listen to Spotify at work. Doing entirely without music is not yet possible after all . . .



Translated from: Cato Magazin, 2/19.

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