We are all about singing beautiful songs beautifully! We love songs that tell stories and which engage with the audience and Barbershop is an art form that gives us a unique way of doing this. It is a particular style of a cappella close harmony, or unaccompanied vocal music.
Music buffs would say it is ‘characterized by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic texture’. The four parts are Lead, Bass, Baritone and Tenor.
Those who sing Barbershop would say the defining characteristic is the ringing chord – one in which certain overtones of the four voices reinforce each other, sometimes so strongly that the overtone is perceived by the listener as a distinct tone, even though none of the voices are actually singing that tone.
What is prized is not so much this “overtone” itself, but the unique sound that accompanies the overtone. It can have a very emotional effect for both the singers and audience. Some speak of ‘a tingling of the spine, the raising of the hairs on the back of the neck, the spontaneous arrival of goose bumps on the forearm’. …. If you asked any of us why it is that we love this art form so much we are likely to eulogise about the unique ringing chord that creates this effect and which simply gets us all hooked.
Here's some examples!....
We are members of the British Association of Barbershop Singers known simply as 'BABS'. This gives us access to great resources for development and for competing with other choruses at the highest level.
Every year BABS organises a National Convention of Barbershp singers where the best in the UK compete in Full Chorus and Quartet formats.
In addition, there is an annual 'HARMONY COLLEGE' held at Nottingham University at which individuals and quartet groups can develop their skills with coaching from Gold medallist singers and Music Directors.