Anyone who’s known me over the past 7 or 8 years knows that other than photography and yarn crafts, my other major hobby is barbershop.
“Isn’t that just a bunch a old guys dressed up in striped vests and straw hats singing old songs really badly?”
Uhm, no – not even close…
Barbershop harmony – for those who don’t know (and a good deal of my Facebook contacts do know – a big “hello” to them via the RSS feed from this blog to Facebook!) consists of 4 parts sung a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment): the melody is sung by lead, with the tenor harmonizing above, the bass below, and the baritone filling the remaining fourth notes of each chord. The resulting sound is quite amazing, I assure you; if the tuning is just right (I won’t go into the physics of this), one or more overtones can be produced, creating what is often called “lock and ring”. If you have heard this before, you know that it’s really awesome.
Barbershop isn’t just quartets, either. There are many, many choruses out there singing in this musical style as well. Better than explaining this though, would be to offer a demonstration. Here, for your viewing and listening pleasure, is the 2009 Barbershop Harmony Society International champions (yes – there is an annual convention/competition) – the Ambassadors of Harmony from St. Charles, MO.
This is so NOT old and stuffy! In fact, it’s freaking cool!