Findings from a survey of pitch drift

Seaton, Richard; Jones, Allan; Pim, Dennis and Sharp, David (2020). Findings from a survey of pitch drift. Choral Directions Research Journal, 1(1) pp. 58–70.


The phenomenon of pitch drifting while choirs perform a cappella music is familiar to choral performers and directors, although there appears to be a lack of research into the reasons that it occurs. As part of a research project to investigate possible causes of pitch drift, when singing unaccompanied music, a survey of choral practitioners was undertaken. This paper presents the findings of the survey, which established that a majority of choirs suffer problems maintaining pitch and that varying beliefs about the cause are widespread. In general, anecdotal beliefs regarding pitch drift in a cappella choral singing are confirmed, but the causes remain unclear.

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