Ringing Chords the Barbershop way Part 2…

Hi-fidelityHi everyone, This is a wonderful and unique quartet called Hi-Fidelity, check out their website and listen to them singing a very entertaining song in a competition setting on youtube.com.

Here is the second in a series of posts on what drives the Barbershop singer to come back time after time to this fantastic art form called Barbershop. The Barbershop Harmony Society, BHS continually strives to develop even better ways of enhancing the “a cappella” experience in music through Barbershop Harmony.

What is prized is not so much the “overtone” itself, but a unique sound whose achievement is most easily recognized by the presence of the “overtone”. The precise synchrony of the waveforms of the four voices simultaneously creates the perception of a “fifth voice” while at the same time melding the four voices into a unified sound. The ringing chord is qualitatively different in sound from an ordinary musical chord e.g. as sounded on a tempered-scale keyboard instrument.

Most elements of the “revivalist” style are related to the desire to produce these ringing chords. Performance is a cappella to prevent the distracting introduction of equal-tempered intonation, and because listening to anything but the other three voices interferes with a performer’s ability to tune with the precision required. Barbershop arrangements stress chords and chord progressions that favor “ringing”, at the expense of suspended and diminished chords and other harmonic vocabulary of the ragtime and jazz forms.

The dominant seventh-type chord… is so important to barbershop harmony that it is called the “barbershop seventh…” SPEBSQSA (now BHS) arrangers believe that a song should contain dominant seventh chords anywhere from 35 to 60 percent of the time (measured as a percentage of the duration of the song rather than a percentage of the chords present) to sound “barbershop.”

Stay “tuned”

Jerry Braack

California  USA


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One Response to “Ringing Chords the Barbershop way Part 2…”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Jerry .. just listened to the Star Trek ‘take’ .. it was fun .. & interesting to hear .. I’ll be back to listen to other harmonies!

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