Barbershop… the inner workings

The harmonics of Barbershop music is created when the notes are tuned properly thus creating overtones, which are actually audible notes to the listener other than the 4 being sung.  Thus a 5, 6, or 7 part chord is being produced, when only 4 notes are actually being sung. 

If you imagine an oscilloscope you can actually see a wave of sound which is a certain cycle per second picture of sound. In Barbershop music the notes are tuned so as many of the peaks of the waves as possible coincide with each other to produce the overtones. 

The vowel matching, the tuning, the timing and the position in the structure of the chord is what amplifies the overtones and gives the listener the exciting sound produced by this art form.  It is complex when first examined, but with practice the mechanics of producing the magnificent sounds become somewhat automatic.  It still requires attention to detail and intelligent focused singing, but the results are amazing.

The Barbershop Harmony Society, BHS, dedicates itself to teaching the craft from basic to advanced in order to provide to the listeners of the art form the most enjoyable experience imaginable every time it is heard from the very first to decades later… possibly when the listener has become both a member and producer of the music.


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