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Pitch Drift in a cappella choral singing

Pitch Drift in a cappella choral singing > Background


About the project:

Richard Seaton is undertaking research leading to the award of a PhD (he commenced a part-time MPhil in October 2012). His topic is researching possible physical reasons for variation in pitch by choirs singing unaccompanied either in complete works or extended sections of accompanied works. The research is supported by the Acoustics Research Group with my supervisors, Dr Dennis Pim (Lead) and Dr David Sharp (Second). Richard is also collaborating with Prof David Howard at The University of York.

PhD title:

Pitch drift in a cappella choral singing

PhD abstract:

Speak to choir members about singing music unaccompanied, i.e. a cappella, and they will come up with many and varied suggestions as to why their choir drifts in pitch at times. Of course, the problem does not occur all the time, but it does happen. This research will attempt to find out if there are physical reasons why pitch drift occurs and hopefully suggest possible strategies to resolve the problem. The first stage of the research is to survey choral practitioners to elicit their suggestions as to why this problem occurs. The outcomes of the survey will inform the design of experiments with choirs to establish which factors may cause pitch drift.