So You Want to Sing Barbershop offers a close look at barbershop quartets and choruses and explores the techniques required to sing in the style. It also surveys the history and current popularity of barbershop societies. Guest authors offer chapters on vocal science and health and a supplemental website offers additional resources.
Exercises, examples, and recordings referenced in the volume are available online. In addition to offering insight into the characteristics and style of barbershop singing, the book includes a glossary of terms pertinent to the genre. Seven appendixes present lists of resources, champion groups, advice for warming up, learning music, and performance in general. The last appendix is devoted to barbershop humor, and contains jokes and anecdotes about the singers and the style. Singers interested in this genre will appreciate the clear sighted and concise overview presented by Clark and Biffle. (Journal of Singing)
Clark and Biffle have created a remarkably helpful and informative resource. I believe it is the only book of its kind. Without being tedious or encyclopedic, the book provides exactly what one who finds himself/herself hooked on barbershop should know. Barbershop harmony is more than a style of music, it is a culture with a rich history involving a number of organizations worldwide. The book explains the culture, recounts the history, discusses the music’s progression from the early days, lays out basic vocal techniques, describes the nature of the parts, and gives useful ensemble techniques, along with lots of other ins-and-outs of the craft. It is a fountain of information that will be of interest not only to new barbershoppers, but to veteran practitioners as well as anyone curious about the phenomenon we call barbershop. (David Wright, barbershop arranger and coach, certified BHS judge, and member of BHS Hall of Fame)
With this book, Diane M. Clark and Billy J. Biffle give a valuable overview of barbershop in an easy read. It provides an effective look into the depths of our art form, and the glossary and appendixes are a must for any new—or current—barbershopper. (Kevin Keller, past chair of the BHS Contest and Judging Committee, certified director, and barbershop arranger and coach)
I believe this book is a wonderful source of information for anyone interested in learning more about barbershop, as well as those who already have years of experience. It provides an excellent guide to the history of barbershop, as well as clear explanations of just what the barbershop style is. I found the chapters on Singing and Voice Science, and Vocal Health to be very clear, interesting, and educational. Many of the chapters provide information on singing and performance techniques, as well as specific exercises to practice the skills. The glossary of terms is user friendly and thorough. Information about each of the three major barbershop organizations is included. There is an explanation of the judging programs and competition cycles for Sweet Adelines, Harmony Inc., and the Barbershop Harmony Society. I am so impressed with this book that I will ask my chorus to purchase several copies to help all of us, but especially incoming members, understand the wonderful world of singing in the barbershop style. (Lori Lyford, director of 5-time SAI international champion Scottsdale Chorus, SAI certified international faculty, 2012 NAfME Sweet Adeline Educator of the Year)
[Singers] at all levels . . . stand to improve their four-part harmonizing by reading So You Want to Sing Barbershop. (Classical Singer Magazine)
About the Author
Diane M. Clark is associate professor emerita of music at Rhodes College. She has been a member of Sweet Adelines International since 1992 and is active as a chorus and quartet coach and music arranger.
Billy J. Biffle has been a member of the Albuquerque chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society since 1975 and is an arranger and coach, certified master director, judge emeritus, and past president of the Barbershop Harmony Society.