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History of Barbershop Quartets




In the early part of the 20th century, if you wanted to listed to music your choices were limited. So, if you wanted to have some entertainment you would need to provide it for yourself and your friends and family.


At the turn of the century, it was possible for most people to afford to send their children to a music teacher to learn how to sing. The music teachers rarely taught the children how to read music but rather taught the kids how to listen to the notes they were singing. The teachers' goal was to have each child develop an ear for music.


Barbershop quartets were easy to form and easy to have a musical "ear" to sing with.  All it took is four guys with the same musical ear developed to started singing in four part harmony.


Thus, the barbershop quartet was born. Men would often get together to sing as a small group, playing off the sounds of the others in the group.  Barbershop quartets consists of singing in four part harmony.  The four parts of a quartet include: the bass, tenor, baritone, and the lead.


The Harmony of a Barbershop Quartet




The four parts of a barbershop quartet: the lead, tenor, baritone and bass sing in harmony with each other. When done properly, the audience can hear an audible "ringing" of chords. The four part harmony in formed by the lead of the quartet singing the melody, the bass generally carries the lowest notes, the tenor is responsible to harmonize above the melody or lead part and the baritone's job is to complete the chord being sung.


When done correctly, all four parts of the barbershop quartet will produce the sound of a "ringing chord" also known as the angel's voice or singing in the barbershop seventh 7th. This sound is produced by the bass, baritone, tenor and lead singing in the upper rage of their harmonic notes in such a way as to stand our separately yet blend perfectly together. Singing in the barbershop 7th only can be produced while sining certain chords.

Famous Barbershop Quotes

"Barbershop quartets put a smile on my face."


Barbara K

"For my next wedding, I want a barbershop quartet to sing."


Kathering L

"My Dad taught me how to sing barbershop and I'm so happy he did."

Andy T

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