Edward Marshall


Research title: Do choirs have accents?

Research Summary

Everyone knows choirs have a 'sound', from choral societies to rock choirs, chapel to community. What is the choral 'sound' like, linguistically and musically? How does it emerge, from the director, the choir members’ spoken accents, or both? Does it change over time? How do listeners evaluate choral accents?

In my current project I am investigating whether choir 'sound' changes over time by building a corpus of choir recordings. The Glasgow Choir Corpus contains all available recordings (510 tracks total) of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir (1906 - 1951) and the Glasgow Phoenix Choir (1951 - present). The recordings appropriate for analysis (English + unaccompanied + homophonic = 165 tracks) have been automatically aligned with their associated texts (over 16,000 word tokens). I have manually corrected the alignments at word and segment level. I am investigating changes in the choirs' vowel space over time using formant measurements.

I am also interested in: 

Intelligibility in singing

Timbre and brightness 





External supervisors

Professor John Butt, University of Glasgow

Professor Timothy Dean, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (AHRC project code: 2284740)


Spheres of Singing, May 2020, "An investigation of sound change in historical recordings of choirs in Glasgow" 



English Language and Linguistics Level 1 seminars (2019-2021)

English Language and Linguistics Level 2 seminars (2020-2021)