Barbershop Quartets

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #94: Barbershop Quartets

When you start talking about a cappella amidst non-fans, you’ll inevitably come upon at least one person whose mind leaps to red-vested, top hat wearing, barbershop days of yore, and dismisses the form that you love as one-hundred-percent lame.

But even though barbershop is a less edgy, less current approach to a cappella than the contemporary style on which this blog and most younger fans focus upon, should we dismiss it out of hand?


Barbershop represents some of the very best of a cappella, stripped down without the beatboxing, the choreo and, for the most part, even the synthesis of instruments, barbershop focuses on what just four voices can do to complement each other, flesh out a full sound and even achieve the illusion of notes that aren’t there for the way in which the vocalists harmonize. It’s an extraordinary genre of a cappella with a long tradition—one that non-barbershop singers would probably benefit from studying a little bit more closely to get a new perspective on some of the fundamentals and round out their ears.

I love it!