How Many A Cappella Group Names are Puns?

Statistical Findings

In the fall of 2010, The A Cappella Blog invited every collegiate a cappella group we could find to participate in a survey. Our objective was to develop a better understanding of current trends in a cappella—what groups are or are not doing and to what degree.

Over 300 groups from across the US and abroad responded to the survey. Throughout our 2010 publication season, we will review results from this survey and talk about what our findings mean. We welcome and encourage groups to look over the information to learn, to benchmark and to satisfy their own curiosity.

This edition’s question: Is your group’s name a pun or play on words?

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Although popular wisdom would lead you to believe that the vast majority of a cappella group names are puns or plays on words, the groups that responded to the survey suggested that it’s almost a dead-even split between puns and non-puns.

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Granted, there is some room for ambiguity here as the term “play on words” is a little arbitrary. The six percent of groups who answered indecisively supports this reading, and it’s difficult to tell how many of those “no” responses may have been on the fence. Meanwhile, it does also make sense that musical pun names are starting to run out. While new ones will pop up each year, there may well be a trend emerging of groups adopting names more linked to their schools or to their identities as a group. Regardless of the rationale, it seems as though puns are not the dominant force in a cappella names that some might suspect them to be.