If you've never sung in a Barbershop Nashville TN quartet, you are missing out on one of the finer things in life.What is Barbershop music? Simply put, barbershop-style singing is four human voices coming together to create a satisfyingly rich sound that compares to none you've ever heard this side of heaven. Come now, is my bias really showing? When four guys (or gals) lock a chord correctly, there's not a better sound in all the world.
And often Barbers in Nashville TN that locking is accompanied by a "fifth" harmonic note high above the range of any of the individual members. There are also undertones that can be produced with those four voices but those are harder to hear. With barbershop-style music, you are able to create something that is greater than the sum of all four parts. And can it ever be fantastic! Twice I heard the overtone in my quartet so clear that I looked around the practice room because I thought a fifth voice was actually in the room with the four of us; it was that clear.
Men from all around the globe and from all flavors of society and age groups come together for one purpose: to create barbershop harmony, an art form in and of itself. For some, it's a hobby. For others, it's an unquenchable desire to lock those chords and create something special, and something that all the money in the world cannot buy.
So what are the four parts in barbershop music?
Lead. Everyone knows the lead because he typically sings the melody almost every time. Occasionally one of the other parts will pick up the melody for a few notes but it normally switches back to the melody.
Bass. Everyone loves the rich sound that a bass can make. They are way down low on many songs. They provide the foundation for the chord. They rarely have the melody.
Tenor. They're the high guys. They sing above the melody and often into what is called "falsetto" or the range above a male's typical voice.
Baritone. Last and certainly not least is the baritone. They have the most difficult parts of a song but they also get some of the "juiciest" notes, the notes ever other part wishes they had when the time comes.
Put them all together and you have a quartet of parts. When it goes together well, it's nothing like you've ever heard. Nothing. Often it takes a man a rehearsal or two to actually hear the chords lock, but when he hears it, he's hooked, and often for life.