What is barbershop?
In simple terms, barbershop harmony is vocal harmony produced by four parts: tenor, lead, baritone and bass. It is different from any other kind of choral or group singing.
Finding the right part for your voice is the initial step. Any woman of average singing ability, with or without vocal training, will find a part that fits her range.
* Tenor is a harmony part sung consistently above the lead. Although tenor is the highest voice in barbershop harmony, it should not be confused with soprano of conventional singing groups. The tenor should have a light, sweet, pure tone that will compliment but not overpower the lead voice.
* Lead is the melody and is sung in the range between A below middle C, and C above middle C.
* Baritone is approximately the same range as lead. The baritone harmony notes cross the lead notes; sometimes sung below and sometimes above.
* Bass is the lowest vocal part. Singers should have a rich, mellow voice and be able to sing the E flat below middle C easily.
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.
History of Sweet Adelines International
After World War II, barbershop singing was growing increasingly popular for men. In 1945, a small group of women wanted to participate in the chord-ringing, fun-filled harmony that the men were singing. So these women organized "Sweet Adelines in America." From its humble beginnings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sweet Adelines International, as it is now called, has grown to a membership of almost 30,000 women in countries all across the globe.
Pitch Pipe Magazine
If you want to stay informed of the all the happenings of the female barbershop music scene, subscribe to Pitch Pipe, which is put out by Sweet Adelines International each quarter. It's full of news, reviews, and previews of coming events and competitions.