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Barbershopper Know How


AC&C – Area Convention and Contests

Afterglow – A party after a barbershop show

Bell Chord – Notes sung by different singers in successive time

Chest Voice – A term related to imagery, since it is established that all vocal vibration originates in the larynx. The feeling of vibrations in the chest with low resonance.

“Chinese” Seventh – A dominant seventh chord, voiced with the fifth in the bass and the root and seventh in the top two voices

Centered – Your weight is balanced evenly on both feet

Choreography – The planned moves that accompany a song

Crescendo – A gradual increase in volume

Decrescendo – A gradual decrease in volume

Diaphragm – Large, dome–shaped muscle separating the chest and stomach cavities. It is the principal muscle involved in the inhalation process of breathing.

Diphthong – A sound composed of two consecutive vowels in a single syllable

Expanded Sound – The effect resulting from voices singing with accurate intonation, uniform word sounds in good quality, proper volume relationships, all producing an effect greater than the sum of the individual voice parts.

Forward Focus – A sensation of producing sound in the facial area, utilizing the throat and mouth for optimal resonance

Forward Press – Shift your weight forward

Good Intonation – Singing in tune

Hang Ten – To position the tips of your toes at the front of the risers

IC&C – International Convention and Contests

Inside Foot – The foot closest to the center of the chorus while on the risers

Inside Smile – A mental imagery concept that aids in lifting the upper lip away from the front teeth. It assists in extending the vocal tract, raising the soft palate and adds animation to the face

Interval – The difference in pitch between two notes

Legato – The flow of tone in a smooth vocal line, with no apparent interruption from articulation

Mask – Mental imagery term to indicate the forward area (bone) of the face

Outside Foot – The foot farthest away from the center of the chorus while on the risers

Overtones – Harmonics that are produced by proper intonation, tuning and vowel formation

Pedal Tone – A tone that is sustained while other voices move freely over, under or around it. Pedal tones are most often found in the lowest voice.

Pick-up Quartet – Any four singers, not in an established quartet, singing a song or tag.

Reset – To re-position the body, typically at the beginning of a new phase.

Resonance – A body of air that vibrates. The singer attempts to control the “container” which holds the air, thus affecting quality

Resonators – Any of the parts and cavities of the vocal instrument that reinforce sound coming from the vocal folds (cords). Principal resonators are the throat and mouth, with the supporting vibrations in the upper chest and nasal area.

Scooping – Starting a tone off pitch (usually below pitch) and adjusting to the correct pitch after initiating the sound.

Soft Palate – A muscular extension of the hard palate, made of soft, fleshy muscle.

Tag – The coda or special ending added to an arrangement of a song.

Tempo –The rate of speed of a musical composition.

Tiddly – A musical embellishment sung by one of the singers.

Tonal Center – The tonic triad is the center to which all other tones are related. The tonal center establishes a feeling of key. The key feeling or tonal center should remain constant, barring a key change, until the song’s conclusion.

Triphthong – A single syllable, consisting of three consecutive vowel sounds.

Unison – The combined sound of all voice parts at the same pitch.

Vibrato – Pitch oscillation above and below a note.

Wall of Sound – Seamless, continuous vocalization.

Warm Sound – A pleasant, quality vocal sound. A tone produced with relaxed, open throat with warm air flowing up and out.

Woodshedding – A singer improvising all or part of a song.

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