200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

When a Group Squeezes an Extra Song Into Its Competition Set

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #132: When a Group Squeezes an Extra Song Into Its Competition Set

Conventional wisdom dictates that a ten-to-twelve-minute competition set will consist of three songs (and, further, that that set will consist of two up-tempo songs to bookend a ballad). The format has certainly garnered its share of success, tailored to fit three-to-four minute long songs, and organized to capture the audience’s attention, show emotional depth, and explode into an epic finish.

While format works for many groups, others have found the greatest success by bucking tradition in favor mixing up the order of songs or defying the three-song model altogether, instead squeezing in a fourth number that has all the potential in the world to add depth and diversity to a set and to win audiences over for the sheer surprise that they thought the performance was over after the third number.

I love it!

The First Time You Hear a Song After You’ve Heard It A Cappella

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #131: The First Time You Hear a Song After You’ve Heard It A Cappella

It’s no secret that one of the coolest parts of attending an a cappella show—particularly at the collegiate level, is walking away having been exposed to new music you may not have come across in your everyday life. The intersection of college students and people who love music is prime territory to be exposed to something off beat, on the cusp of becoming cool, or otherwise off the mainstream radar, but nonetheless awesome.

We’ve all heard songs translated from conventional instrumentation into a cappella—sometimes it’s great, sometimes it doesn’t work out so well. It’s pretty fantastic to hear a song performed (artfully) a cappella first, though, and then go back to discover the source material, reverse-engineering the process of the arrangement and elements performance to see how they link back to the original song, not to mention walking away with a new artist or album to explore.

I love it!

Watching the Crowd Grow at a Public Show

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #130: Watching the Crowd Grow at a Public Show

One of the a cappella’s most unique and most appealing qualities is how few requirements it has. A cappella groups need a place to exist—and, well, that’s about it. While not all venues are built equally in terms of aesthetic or acoustic quality, because a cappella is all about the music people make with their bodies, it allows for spontaneous performance, and performance in unlikely places ranging from a public park to a subway platform.

Better yet, once a group gets going, it can be pretty amazing to see a crowd take notice. Starting with a few friends of the group, soon, curious onlookers will wander over. Then more people who want to see what all of these other people are crowding around, and whom get sucked in by a captivating performance. In a matter of minutes, a cappella has the power to draw together a truly impressive audience.

I love it!

Hearing a Song That Just Came Out on the Radio

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #129: Hearing a Song That Just Came Out on the Radio

I consider myself pretty open minded about music from different time periods. On a given day, I’m more or less equally prone to be listening to something contemporary, something from a few years, something from my childhood, or something from before I was born. As such, I also appreciate hearing a diverse range of time periods covered in an a cappella show.

All that said, there’s something unmistakably electric about hearing an a cappella group sing a genuinely new song—one that has just hit the radio, just blown up on YouTube, or otherwise quite recently arrived in the public consciousness. Sometimes, it’s a product  of good fortune—a group arranged and learned a deep cut which just happened to be the next single off a major artist’s label. Other times, it’s a group working hard and working quickly to learn a song and execute it ahead of the pack, when the audience is both most interested in and most surprised to hear it. For all of the group’s spectacular accomplishments, this may be one of Pentatonix’s most significant signature moves.

I love it!

A Sold-Out Crowd

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #128: A Sold-Out Crowd

We’ve all heard the expression, “bigger is better.” The words certainly hold true in the case of the audience at an a cappella show. A bigger crowd means more people to laugh at a joke, more people to swoon for a particularly captivating solo, more people to clap along on a barn burning number and more people to stand up and cheer at the conclusion of an epic performance.

While the performers on stage may occupy the spotlight, the live crowd is very much a part of defining most exhibitions. The energy of the people around you shapes your perception of events and a sold out a crowd—by definition, a crowd of people filling a space, who have paid money to hear a group sing—bodes very, very well for an off-the-charts live show.

I love it!

Simulating Sounds

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #127: Simulating Sounds

In a genre defined by the human voice and body, one of the most fascinating elements of a cappella to watch evolve over time is the way in which performers simulate sounds. Whether it’s Deke Sharon’s vocal trumpet, Jamal Reed’s electric guitar, or more dramatic, less literal interpretations of the sound of wind blowing, or a motorcycle revving up, the innovators of the a cappella form have dared to try new things and broaden the world’s conception of what sounds people are capable of making without any external instruments at hand.

I love it!

Next Page
When a Group Squeezes an Extra Song Into Its Competition Set
The First Time You Hear a Song After You’ve Heard It A Cappella
Watching the Crowd Grow at a Public Show
Hearing a Song That Just Came Out on the Radio
A Sold-Out Crowd
Simulating Sounds
Clean Sound
Hearing the Story Behind a Song
Intro Videos
Wild Transitions Between Songs
Buying a Group's CD After the Show
Wild Transitions Between Songs
Meeting a Group After the Show
Distinctive Syllables
One Group Inspiring Another
The Remix to Ignition
When Over the Top Costuming Works
Aca-Wedding Proposals
The Sound of a Pitch Pipe
Hearing a Song Evolve
Seeing a Second Group Sing the Same Song—And Do It Better
The One Guy Who Wants It Badder Than Anyone Else
Hearing a Song You Thought No One Else Knew
Sweating
Fake Outs
Large Men Who Can Work The Stage
The Battle
The CMU Originals’ Boat
Witnessing Someone’s First Solo
Hearing a New Song Debuted