September 24 2017

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Just who is Brent Graham?

 

What is Barbershop?

Find out about this uniquely American art form for men and women.

 

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What is barbershop?

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 usually sung by the lead, with the tenor harmonizing above the melody. The bass sings mostly foundational notes, and the baritone - "the garbage man" - sings whatever note is needed to complete the chord. Because many of the chord voicings in Barbershop are within 10 notes of each other, you often hear Barbershop harmony called "close harmony".

 



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 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.