Title: Pitch Perfect: Achieving optimal intonation in a cappella choral singing, presented by Elizabeth Scott
Abstract: Choirs face a unique challenge achieving optimal intonation for choral performance. Orchestras and instrumental ensembles naturally tune chords in just intonation. Ideally choirs would do the same but convention dictates that choirs rehearse with the aid of a piano to tune their chords, and they therefore cannot create musically consonant harmonies. Relying on the rehearsal piano with its equal temperament can result in out of tune singing. The challenge for choral directors is to retrain singers to sing with just intonation. This study aims to develop new strategies to improve a cappella intonation and equip choristers with skills to pure intervals. A series of training exercises were developed to explore just intonation and choristers rehearsed using a Yamaha Harmony Director HD-200. Rehearsals were recorded and choristers gave feedback as they learned new exercises and trialed their skills in a variety of repertoire. This focus on just intonation improved awareness and accessibility of pure intervals in performance. Results of this study will be discussed with reference to recent research on choral pedagogy and performance. Choral directors must now extend pedagogic approaches to intonation so choristers understand, practice and perform successfully with just intonation.