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Re. your recent note re. choral intonation:
I'm am a choral conductor and a doctoral candidate at McGill University
working in the areas of music theory/auditory perception & cognition.
As Richard Parncutt has mentioned, little research seems to have been
carried out in the area of choral intonation. I have two hunches:
1) Vocal cord muscle tension. The muscle is more likely to become "lazy"
(i.e., flat) over time than it is to become "overtaut" (sharp).
2) This should generally be as true for individuals as for choirs, except:
a) soloists are generally better trained than choral singers
b) there may be a cumulative "drag" effect in choirs; i.e., one
member/section begins to sing flat, others begin to have difficulty
fighting the pitch discrepancy and follow until the entire choir is
happily singing flat.
These and other possible hypotheses are certainly worth testing!
Best - Jim
Phone: (613) 523-7846
Fax: (613) 523-8486