Choral Singing ("Doug las H. Keefe" )

Subject: Choral Singing
From:    "Doug las H. Keefe"  <keefe(at)BOYSTOWN.ORG>
Date:    Mon, 28 Apr 1997 16:57:40 -0600

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 accompaniment. 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? --Doug Keefe

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