Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Barbershop quartet singinglocked

  • Richard Mook

Extract

American barbershop quartet singing is characterized by homophonic, close-harmony, four-part arrangements, either improvised or prepared in advance, with the melody performed by the second tenor, or “lead.” Harmonies emphasize circle of fifth progressions, often with added sevenths. Modern performers use just intonation, allowing the overtones produced by the singers to reinforce one another, creating chords that “ring” or “expand.” Both arrangements and performance practices favor the prolonging, or “worship,” of such chords. To vary the homophonic texture of their arrangements and create novel harmonies, barbershop groups often add “snakes” or “swipes” in which one or more non-melody voices change pitch, thereby altering the chord. The style emerged in 1880s and was popular among diverse amateur and professional groups across the United States between ...

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to access the full content.