Barbershop music, with its close, a cappella four-part harmony, is a unique American folk art. Although no one can say precisely when or where barbershop music began, it was certainly given a boost between the 1860s and 1920s by the types of songs popular at the time - songs characterized by sentimental lyrics and uncomplicated melodies that could be harmonized with a variety of four-part chords.
The barbershop harmony of today is a highly-stylized art form requiring the same high degree of singing skill as other types of choral music, and as the popularity of barbershop harmony has grown, so has the type of participation. Choruses ranging in size from 15 to 150 or more members have found this singing style a challenging and exciting musical experience.
Sweet Adelines International is a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performances. With nearly 30,000 members worldwide, Sweet Adelines International is one of the world's largest singing organizations for women. It consists of more than 1,200 registered quartets and 600 choruses around the world, including; Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Wales and most of the 50 states in the United States.
For more information visit the Sweet Adelines International Website.
Links you might like:
Harmony Heartland Region 4 of Sweet Adelines International
Harmonize.com - a web site hosting and listing barbershop groups
Harmonet Central - Barbershop Harmony Online
National Public Radio's story on the history of barbershop quarteting: Present at the Creation
Primary A Cappella - music catalog, recordings, arrangements, videos