• a cappella (unaccompanied)
• consonant (not dissonant)
• four-part (tenor, lead, bari, bass)
• vocal harmony
What is barbershop?
Like jazz and spiritual, barbershop singing is a distinctly American style of music. It is a style of unaccompanied, or a cappella, vocal music characterized by consonant four part chords for every melody note.
Barbershop harmony emphasizes the matching of word sounds and the proper balancing of chords so that overtones are reinforced.
These chords, also known as the angel’s voice or the fifth voice, result when individual voice notes and frequencies combine in such a way that a fifth sound can be heard above the blended sound of the four parts even though no one is actually singing it.
How can you detect this chord? It’s easy; you can’t mistake it. The overtones will ring in your ears, you’ll experience a spinal shiver, goosebumps will stand out on your arms, and you’ll rise a little in your seat.