Austin Harmony Chorus is an a cappella barbershop chorus of women ranging in age from 20's to 80's and all with diverse backgrounds, careers and interests. Austin Harmony Chorus's remarkable journey began with a vision shared by six women, and chartered as a chapter of Sweet Adelines International with 27 members on October 17, 2005. We perform many different types of music, from Broadway show tunes to the popular music of yesterday and today. If you'd like the chance to learn to sing together in 4-part harmony, please consider visiting one of our rehearsals. We think you might just want to keep coming back! We're teachers, business women, nurses, students, artists and retirees. We're single women, wives, mothers and grandmothers! What brings us together is our love of singing together and the joy of sharing it with others. We perform, we compete, and we have a great time doing it!
Barbershop harmony is vocal harmony produced by four parts: tenor, lead, baritone, and bass. It is performed a cappella — without any instrumental accompaniment. Barbershop has its roots in the American gospel and minstrel quartets of the last century. It is one of the recognized indigenous American musical genres, along with country-western, dixieland jazz and the American spiritual.
Barbershop-style harmony is different from any other kind of choral or group singing. It is characterized by a “cone-shaped sound” where the broadest strength is at the lowest part of the chord and the lightest is at the top. Specific chord structures, delivery and interpretation all contribute to the “lock-and-ring”. This sound is created by a perfectly balanced and in-tune chord, which produces harmonic overtones. Listen closely to a barbershop-style song and you will often hear a note (or notes!) “ringing” above the highest tone – without anyone singing them!
Barbershop chords differ, as well, with the "barbershop seventh" the 1st, 3rd, 5th and flatted 7th notes in a scale used to create the characteristic barbershop sound.
In choir, voices are typically divided into four parts, soprano, alto, tenor and bass, with the melody usually residing with the highest voices, the sopranos. In barbershop, however, the lead voices most often carry the melody. Tenors sing above the leads; baritones and leads swap places regularly; the basses, just as in church choir, sing the very lowest notes. The melody regularly switches from one part to another, making singing and listening just that much more engaging and fun.
Who are the Sweet Adelines?
Sweet Adelines International is a highly respected worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education, competition and performance. This independent, nonprofit music education association is one of the world's largest singing organizations for women: members extend over five continents and belong to more than 500 choruses and 1,200 quartets, totalling 23,000 members across the globe.
Sweet Adelines choruses and quartets sing exciting a cappella, four-part harmony music, barbershop style. The music includes special arrangements of today's ballads, classic songs, popular show tunes and mainstream music. Sweet Adelines continues to positively impact women's lives and helps them find their voices, build confidence, enhance their vocal abilities, improve leadership and management qualities, and create a lifelong support system of sisterhood and friendship.