So what makes this sweeeet sound of barbershop harmony?
We sing in Four-parts, in very close-harmony, unaccompanied with any instruments:
Leads usually (but not always) sing the melody in the range between A below middle C, and C above middle C.
Baritone covers approximately the same range as lead. The baritone harmony notes cross the lead notes; sometimes sung below and sometimes above.
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 the soprano of conventional singing groups. The Tenor should have a light, sweet, pure tone that will complement but not overpower the lead voice.
Bass singers should have a rich, mellow voice and be able to sing the E flat below middle C easily. Bass should not be confused with the alto of conventional groups.
Artistic singing in the barbershop style exhibits a fullness or expansion of sound, precise intonation, a high degree of vocal skill and a high level of unity and consistency within the chorus. The presentation and visual delivery is from the heart, believable, and sensitive to the song and its arrangement. The presentation artistically melds the musical and visual aspects to create and sustain the music to engage the listener – That's barbershop!
There is also the Barbershop Harmony Society which is the world's largest mixed singing organization with 30,000 members worldwide. On many occasions, RiverOaks will team up with some of these groups and/or other SAI Chapters and quartets for performances and shows.