What is Barbershop?

From Sweet Adelines International:

Barbershop harmony is unaccompanied, four-part a cappella harmony – and it’s fabulous!

Although barbershop-style music is usually built on simple melodies and is relatively easy to sing, the a cappella style and the ear training necessary for independent part singing make it one of the most challenging and rewarding accomplishments of a vocal ensemble.  When the music is sung accurately and with good breath support and vocal techniques, barbershop harmony produces overtone vibrations that create a resonant ring unique to this form of music.

Voice Parts

Our songs are based around singing four-part chords, so there are four voice parts in a chorus. The parts are: lead, the part which sings the melody; bass, for deeper voices, which provide a solid foundation for the chord; baritone, a harmony part, singing in the same voice range as the lead; and tenor, for higher voices, adding the top notes to the harmony. Although the terminology used is for male voices, all music is written for female voices. The balance between these voice parts is critical to the sound of the chorus.

When sung accurately, with good breath support and vocal technique, barbershop harmonies produce overtones (or harmonics) that create the resonant ring unique to this form of music.

The really fun part for the singers is in fine-tuning these chords to enhance the harmonic series.

Ladies of all skill levels join us, and their abilities are as varied as they are.  It’s the coming together of these unique voices, talents and experiences that creates the space for an exciting ensemble.


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