One of the regular haunts of mus. in the 16th and 17th cents. was the barber's shop. Here customers awaiting their turn found some simple instr. on which they could strum. The barbers themselves, waiting between customers, took up the instr. and thus came to possess some repute as performers. In Eng. lit. of the 16th and 17th cents. allusions to barbers as musicians are numerous. The mus. proclivities of barbers ceased in Eng. in the earlier part of the 18th cent. The tradition was maintained longer in Amer. where ‘barber‐shop harmony’, implying a rather banal style of close harmony singing, has enjoyed a 20th‐cent. revival.