Choral Singing (James Wright Mcgill )

Subject: Choral Singing
From:    James Wright Mcgill  <jawright(at)CCS.CARLETON.CA>
Date:    Mon, 28 Apr 1997 08:32:47 -0400

Bill, 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 James Wright jawright(at) Phone: (613) 523-7846 Fax: (613) 523-8486

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