Romancing the Tone: Song, Sound, and Significance in Barbershop Harmony

Gage Averill

in Four Parts, No Waiting

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195116724
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849550 | DOI:

Series: American Musicspheres Series

Romancing the Tone: Song, Sound, and Significance in Barbershop Harmony

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Just like the show that Premium Blend put on, a barbershop performance makes use of lyric text, a harmonic arrangement and vocal blending, costumes, gestures and choreography, facial expression, and even movement to effectively entertain and deliver the intent of the song. Focus is given to how the almost all “old songs” have sweet and simple melodies that are easy to remember, in which a quartet may integrate its own original chord sequences to effectively present lyrics that bring about nostalgia. In this chapter, the author examines the elements of barbershop quartet singing and identifies the significance of song lyrics, sound, performance, and even the social organization attributed to the barbershop harmony by looking at the song itself.

Keywords: lyric text; arrangement; choreography; melodies; performance; social organization; nostalgia; song

Chapter.  12083 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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