About Barbershop

Barbershop singing has its roots at the turn of the 20th century. Around that time, the local barbershop was not only a place for a shave and a haircut, it was also a social gathering place for men. In addition to exchanging local gossip, singing simple melodies to which others could harmonize became a feature of many barbershops. Consequently, the term “barbershop” came to represent this particular style of singing.

Barbershop is sung a cappella, which is an Italian term literally meaning “in the manner of the chapel” – that is, without instrumental accompaniment. The vocal harmonies are produced by four parts: lead, tenor, baritone and bass. The melody is sung by the lead voice; the tenor voice sings the harmony above the lead; the lowest harmony is sung by the bass and the baritone voice completes the four-part chord. Close harmony and ringing chords are a key feature of the barbershop style.

Today, barbershop is sung by both men’s and women’s choruses and quartets around the world. The repertoire can vary from traditional barbershop melodies like “Heart of My Heart” and “Shine on Harvest Moon” to Broadway show tunes like “All that Jazz” and “Do You Hear the People Sing” to rock and pop classics like “Africa” and “I Get Around”.

Barbershop organizations

Harmony Inc.
An international non-profit organization whose purpose is “to empower all women through education, friendship and a cappella singing in the barbershop style.” The ScotianAires are a chapter of Harmony, Inc.

The Barbershop Harmony Society
Formerly the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America – SPEBSQSA – an all-male organization of barbershop singers.

Sweet Adelines International
A worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performances.

Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS)
LABBS is a thriving, fun-loving, educational Association of British ladies barbershop singers in the UK

Primarily A Cappella
Dedicated to the discovery, dissemination and celebration of the best vocal music from around the globe