National Barbershop Music Appreciation Day Date in the current year: July 13, 2024

National Barbershop Music Appreciation Day National Barbershop Music Appreciation Day, also known as simply Barbershop Music Appreciation Day, is observed annually on July 13. It was created to celebrate barbershop music and barbershop quartets and choruses across the nation.

Barbershop music is a type of a capella music characterized by a unique harmonic structure: the melody is performed by the lead singer (typically a second tenor or a high baritone), the tenor harmonizes above the lead, the bass provides the bass line, and the baritone completes the four-part chord, usually singing slightly below the lead. Barbershop music is usually performed by a group of four singers called a barbershop quartet, but it can be performed by a barbershop chorus where each part is sung by several vocalists.

The origins of barbershop music are somewhat murky, but it is believed to have roots in African-American culture, particularly in a tradition of quartet singing that was popular among young African American man in the late 19th century. The name “barbershop music” probably has to do with barbershops serving as community centers that hosted various social activities.

Barbershop-style singing was very popular in the early 20th century but gradually faded into obscurity in the 1920s. Its revival occurred in 1940s, starting what is now referred to as the modern era of barbershop music. The organization responsible for its revival was the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. (SPEBSQSA), subsequently renamed the Barbershop Harmony Society. The SPEBSQSA was founded in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1938 with the goal of revitalizing, promoting and preserving barbershop music.

Present-day barbershop music unites people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Although it was originally performed by men, today there are plenty of female and mixed barbershop quartets and choruses. Barbershop music combines nostalgia with the beauty of a capella harmony, but modern barbershop quartets don’t exclusively stick to the traditional repertoire; a variety of songs, including pop music, rock music and show tunes, have been arranged for barbershop quartets and choruses.

National Barbershop Music Appreciation Day was launched by Sweet Adelines International in 2005 to celebrate the organization’s 60th anniversary. Sweet Adelines was founded by Edna Mae Anderson in Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 13, 1945 as a women’s counterpart to the all-male SPEBSQSA. What started as a small group of women who loved to sing has since grown into an international organization that promotes the unique sound of barbershop harmony and connects more than 20,000 vocalists from different corners of the world.

There are many ways to get involved with National Barbershop Music Appreciation Day. You can learn more about the history of barbershop music, attend a barbershop concert or watch barbershop performances online, give a shout out to your favorite barbershop quartets on social media, sign up for vocal lessons, consider joining a barbershop chorus or even founding your own barbershop quartet, and spread the word on social media with the hashtags #NationalBarbershopMusicAppreciationDay and #BarbershopMusicAppreciationDay.

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