1 December 2014
A barbershop quartet came into our classroom to perform for us, and it was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. I was surprised when they walked through the door because I was not expecting to see anything like that in MU 100. I could tell by their matching horse vests that it was going to be a fun and exciting hour. When they began to sing, I was beyond impressed and intrigued by how well they sounded and how they were able to blend their voices so well.
Although they were singing acapella, they were keeping rhythm really well. I was extremely impressed by that fact alone. The only “instrument” they were using was a pitch pipe to identify the starting note of the song. The quartet briefly explained that pitch pipes are used to help them harmonize and stay in key. The information I learned about the four-part harmony really surprised me. From what they told us, there four parts of a four-art harmony include the lead, tenor, baritone and bass. The ladies also explained that the three types of harmony, choral harmony, jazz harmony, and barbershop harmony, create a triangle shape and that barbershop harmony is located at the top of the shape.
As they were singing, I found it difficult to identify who was singing which part unless I focused on one person at a time. The group member singing the lead was singing the melody of the song. The tenor sang above the melody, the bass below the melody, and the baritone “completed the chord.” To be honest, I was blown away that the eldest lady in the group was singing the part of the bass. They sang a variety of songs and even though some were faster than others, they all had a very interesting tempo. Even the slower song that they sang had quicker syllables and transitions included in it, which I thought was an interesting dynamic. I enjoyed watching the quartet so much because it was clear that they wasn’t anything else they...
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