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The choral ensemble performs either with, or without, instrumental
accompaniment. The solo singer rarely performs without instrumental
accompaniment, which provides a fixed pitch reference. It is obvious
that one or more singers will not tend to sing flat if there is
Confining attention to the case sans accompaniment, what are the data
that support the conclusion that choirs sing flat and that randomly
chosen individuals in the choir do not sing flat? Perhaps the very
singers likely to become soloists are those singers who are also more
likely to sing in tune!
Maybe there is a pitch-timbre interaction. There are a few studies that
demonstrate that individual choral singers modify their spectral
envelope to achieve blend in an ensemble, in a direction so as to reduce
timbral "sharpness". If a singer reduces timbral sharpness, is there a
tendency to reduce pitch?