I had the great pleasure of welcoming Shear Magic to the studio during my last episode. These guys are amazing! If you haven't seen them perform, make sure you check out the show!
During our conversation I learned that barbershop quartets are still alive and going strong with numerous competitions across the country. Since I welcomed the quartet onto my show, I thought it would be fitting to do a brief history on the music style that is barbershop quartet.
As the name implies, a barbershop quartet is a group of four singers who sing without any instrumental accompaniment. Typically the quartet consists of a lead, bass, tenor and baritone, all of which sing in harmony to create the distinct barbershop style sound. Traditionally the singers are all male, but over the years women were invited to join. Fun fact: all female barbershop quartets are sometimes called beauty shop quartets.
The origins of the barbershop quartet are a little iffy, but its often considered as an "old American institution" despite its global influence. Some believe that the barbershop quartet began in the late 19th and early 20th century; though the style waned during the 1920s. Then the music was revived by the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America in the 1930s. Today the Society is referred to as the Barbershop Harmony Society. The first meeting was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1938 an invited only male performers. Women later created their own organization, the Sweet Adelines International in 1945.
Pretty cool right? I knew barbarshop quartets existed, but I never would have guessed it was still so popular today. Have you ever heard a barbershop quartet perform before? Let me know in the comments what you think about babershop quartets and tell me who you think I should feature next on the Stanford Lee Show!
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