Chapter

Introduction: Past Perfect

Gage Averill

in Four Parts, No Waiting

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195116724
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849550 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195116724.003.0001

Series: American Musicspheres Series

Introduction: Past Perfect

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As seen in the title of this book, the four parts of barbershop harmony, which is reminiscent of the “Four chairs, no waiting” signs seen in numerous barbershops across America, signify what appears to be a demonstration of musical fellowship among American males set several years ago in Main Street, U.S.A. A barbershop harmony is usually illustrated using the following characteristics: it has four parts, an a capella composed of four voices — tenor 1, tenor 2, bass 1 and bass 2 — a flexible tempo, seventh-type chords, ringing harmonics, arranging devices, and concentration on songs that were popular during the period roughly between 1890 and 1930. The book generally looks into the contributions of barbershop harmony to the history of American music as it serves as a form of expression for both black and white culture.

Keywords: barbershop harmony; expression; black and white culture; musical fellowship

Chapter.  6935 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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