One of the wonderful things about barbershop harmony, and a capella singing in general, is that you take it with you wherever you go. You don’t need to pack up your instrument — it’s always with you! The special thing about barbershop singing is that you can’t do it alone. You can’t even do it with a friend or two. Barbershop is a Team Sport. It’s close four-part vocal singing with no instrumental accompaniment that creates chords that “ring”.
Barbershop is a Team Sport
Sports teams have players who play certain positions. Each position is unique and has it’s own “job” to do. You can’t play football without your quarterback and your kicker. You can’t play baseball without your pitcher and your catcher. In barbershop, each “player” is an integral part of the team. The four team members are the tenor, lead, baritone and bass.
The lead sings the melody which is the tune that people are used to hearing. It’s the tune that you hum to yourself. The bass sings the lowest harmony and is the foundation of the arrangement. The tenor sings the high harmony, above the lead. The baritone sings harmony above or below the lead, depending on the arrangement of the chord. Each team player is important in a barbershop arrangement, and if any of them is missing, the song just doesn’t sound right.
Oftentimes, people with untrained ears may not even be able to pick out the harmony parts, especially if they’ve never tried to hear them individually. All they may hear is the melody — but they subconsciously hear the harmony parts and that what makes them think a song is pretty or interesting or exciting.
Show your love for your sport of choice with your very own Barbershop is a Team Sport shirt!