Barbershop harmony is a style of unaccompanied (acapella) vocal music, characterised by four-part chords. The melody is consistently sung by the lead, with the tenor harmonising above the melody, the bass singing the lowest harmonising notes, and the baritone completing the chord.
Occasional brief passages may be sung by fewer than four voice parts.
Barbershop music features songs with clear, understandable lyrics and easily singable melodies.
The basic song and its harmonisation are embellished by the arranger to provide support of the song's theme and to close the song effectively.
Pitches are frequently adjusted to achieve perfectly tuned chords. Singing in the Barbershop style exhibits a fullness or expansion of sound, a good degree of vocal skill and a high level of unity and consistency within the ensemble. Ideally, these elements are natural, unmanufactured and free from apparent effort.
The presentation of Barbershop music uses appropriate musical and visual methods to convey the theme of the song and provide the audience with an emotionally satisfying and entertaining experience. The musical and visual delivery is from the heart, believable, and sensitive to the song and its arrangement throughout.
Singing parts for all songs are learnt from individual teach tracks and licensed sheet music - but there is no need to be able to read music to become a member of The Rivertones.