I am studying towards a PhD (commenced MPhil in October 2012) with The Open University. My topic is researching possible reasons for variation in pitch by choirs singing unaccompanied either in complete works or extended sections of accompanied works. I am part of the Acoustics Research Group with my supervisors, Dr Dennis Pim (Lead) and Dr David Sharp. I am also collaborating with Prof David Howard at The University of York.
PhD title: Pitch drift in a cappella choral singing
Abstract: Speak to any choir member about singing music unaccompanied, i.e. a cappella, and they will come up with suggestions as to why their choir drifts in pitch at times. The problem doesn’t occur all the time, but it does happen. My research will attempt to find out if there are particular reasons why pitch drift occurs and suggest possible strategies to solve the problem. I plan to start with a questionnaire to survey choral directors and conductors to try to elicit their suggestions. The results will result in experimentation with choirs to establish which factors may cause pitch drift.
Further details of my research including a link to my Survey of choral practitioners may be found on the Pitch Drift website here. Please do visit my research site and complete the survey if you have any interests in choral singing.
Seaton R.K., Pim D.N., Sharp D., May 2013, 'Pitch Drift in a cappella choral singing - work in progress', Annual Spring Conference, ACOUSTICS 2013, Institute of Acoustics, Nottingham, United Kingdom, 6 pages, ISBN 978-1-906913-15-1.
Seaton R.K., May 2011 'Practising problem solving using mobile technologies', ICNS 2011, IARIA Conference, Venice, Italy, 6 pages.
Seaton, R.K., and Harvey, M.E., June 2009, ‘Recognising achievement through experiential learning’, 14th Annual Conference of the Learning Styles Information Network, Les Roches-Gruyère University of Applied Sciences, Bulle-en-Gruyère, Switzerland, 6 pages, ISBN 978-80-7399-782-3.
Seaton, R.K., March 2009, ‘Practising computer networking problem solving using learning objects on mobile phones’, Frontiers in Science Educational Research Conference, Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, North Cyprus, 10 pages, ISBN 978-975-8401-67-3.
Winning entry in OU Poster Competition 2013, 12th June 2013 may be viewed here.
During a recent visit to Perth, Western Australia, I was able to make contact with Voice Moves WA and the WASO Chorus. I am grateful for the interest shown by both these organisations.
ABCD Convention at Oxford Brookes University 23-25th August 2013. I am very grateful to the organisers who kindly gave me a stand in the exhibition hall to publicise my research on 24th August. This was an extremely useful day and a deal of interest in my research was expressed by the delegates.
Acoustics Challenges in Quires and places where they sing was a one-day conference held by the Musical Acoustics Group of the Institute of Acoustics in London on 2nd July, 2013. Amongst a most interesting set of presentations was Intonation drift in a cappella SATB quartet singing from Prof David Howard of York University. His research compliments my work in that he is looking at the musical aspects that affect pitch whilst I am concentrating on the environmental influences.