What is Barbershop?

What is it?

In simple terms, barbershop harmony is vocal harmony produced by four parts: tenor, lead, baritone and bass. It is different from any other kind of choral or group singing.

Finding the right part for your voice is the initial step. Any woman of average singing ability, with or without vocal training, will find a part that fits her range.

  • Tenor is a harmony part sung consistently above the lead. Although tenor is the highest voice in barbershop harmony, it should not be confused with soprano of conventional singing groups. The tenor should have a light, sweet, pure tone that will compliment but not overpower the lead voice.
  • Lead is the melody and is sung in the range between A below middle C, and C above middle C.
  • Baritone is approximately the same range as lead. The baritone harmony notes cross the lead notes; sometimes sung below and sometimes above.
  • Bass is the lowest vocal part. Singers should have a rich, mellow voice and be able to sing the E flat below middle C easily.

Pitch Pipe Magazine

Stay abreast of the female barbershop music scene, subscribe to Pitch Pipe and Pitch Pipe Lite, which are published by Sweet Adelines International.  These publications are full of reviews and previews of coming events and competitions.

Our Region

PHC is a member of Heart of the Blue Ridge Region #14.  We compete annually at the regional level, and the winner of each region then competes at International Competition. Region #14 also sponsors several educational weekends throughout the year that are attended by many of our members. Check out the calendar of upcoming events and performances throughout Region #14. For more information on how the international organization is divided into regions and links to our sister regions, check out SAI's information page on regions


History of Sweet Adelines International

After World War II, barbershop singing was growing increasingly popular for men. In 1945, a small group of women wanted to participate in the chord-ringing, fun-filled harmony that the men were singing. So these women organized "Sweet Adelines in America." From its humble beginnings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sweet Adelines International, as it is now called, has grown to a membership of almost 30,000 women in countries all across the globe.
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