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Barbershop harmony is a style of unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic[?] texture. The melody is consistently sung by the lead, with the tenor harmonizing above the melody, the bass singing the lowest harmonizing notes, and the baritone completing the chord. The melody is not sung by the tenor except for an infrequent note or two to avoid awkward voice leading, in tags or codas, or when some appropriate embellishing effect can be created. Occasional brief passages may be sung by fewer than four voice parts.

Barbershop music features songs with understandable lyrics and easily singable melodies, whose tones clearly define a tonal center and imply major and minor chords and barbershop (dominant and secondary dominant) seventh chords that resolve primarily around the circle of fifths, while making frequent use of other resolutions. Barbershop music also features a balanced and symmetrical form, and a standard meter. The basic song and its harmonization are embellished by the arranger to provide appropriate support of the song's theme and to close the song effectively.

Barbershop singers adjust pitches to achieve perfectly tuned chords in just intonation while remaining true to the established tonal center. Artistic singing in the barbershop style exhibits a fullness or expansion of sound, precise intonation, a high degree of vocal skill, and a high level of unity and consistency within the ensemble. Ideally, these elements are natural, unmanufactured, and free from apparent effort.

The presentation of barbershop music uses appropriate musical and visual methods to convey the theme of the song and provide the audience with an emotionally satisfying and entertaining experience. The musical and visual delivery is from the heart, believable, and sensitive to the song and its arrangement throughout. The most stylistic presentation artistically melds together the musical and visual aspects to create and sustain the illusions suggested by the music.

Singing a cappella music in the barbershop style is a hobby enjoyed by millions of men and women worldwide. The men's organization is Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A.) and the women's organization is Sweet Adelines International[?]. Both organizations consist of choruses and quartets that perform and compete regularly.


Notable artists:

External Links

Editing notes:

  • The Parliaments is not a Barbershop anything. It's a doo-wop group. It should not be listed on this page
  • The Revelers[?] are a 1920's acapella QUINTET, and should not be on this page either.
  • Is Chaz Weigel[?] a notable Barbershop artist? I cannot find any information about him anywhere. I am suspicious, since notable Barbershop artists tend to come in fours. Perhaps if he is to be included on this page, someone should supply some sort of information about him.
  • The list of notable artists could go on for pages, since the society medals a new champion quartet every year, of which Acoustix is one. Is there some standard for notability here?

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