What’s Barbershop?

The definition of Barbershop harmony is a 'style of a cappella singing - unaccompanied vocal music - characterised by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic texture'.

The melody is consistently sung by the lead, with the tenor harmonising above the melody, the bass singing the lowest harmonising notes, and the baritone completing the chord.

Quaynote entertaining on a boat in Yarmouth harbour

Barbershop singers adjust pitches to achieve perfectly tuned chords in just intonation while remaining true to the established tonal centre.

Artistic singing in the Barbershop style exhibits a fullness or expansion of sound, precise intonation, a high degree of vocal skill and a high level of unity and consistency within the ensemble. Ideally, these elements are natural, unmanufactured and free from apparent effort.

The perception of Barbershop singing by many people is that it is primarily an American style of singing, popular in the 1920s and 30s, and that Barbershop choruses still sing songs of that era, dressed in striped blazers and straw hats!.

However, whilst there are still some standard songs sung, originally written by some of the greatest songwriters of that time, present day Barbershop Choruses include a wide range of (relatively) modern songs which the audience will be familiar with songs from the musicals, classic ballads, comedy songs and songs from the pop of yesteryear, Our aim is to entertain all age groups with quality singing of a wide variety of songs. And we don't wear striped blazers or straw hats any more!