What is a barbershop chorus?
Barbershop singing began with quartets singing music divided into four voice parts: Lead, Tenor, Baritone and bass. A barbershop chorus is an ensemble of singers who perform together in these voice parts, emulating the formation of the quartets but on a larger scale. The differentiation between individual voices within each part gives a chorus a different quality to that of a quartet, and choruses need to blend the sound in each voice part to ensure that the typical four part harmony of barbershop singing is achieved.
What is 'a cappella' singing?
The phrase "a cappella" literally translates to "in the style of the chapel". It refers to choral music without separate instrumental accompaniment. Instruments may be used to double the vocal parts, such as using an electric bass to strengthen the vocal bass line, and the piece is still a cappella. However, to most people in the world, the term 'a cappella' means "music created with nothing more than the human voice." Also, it should be noted that 'a cappella' isn't a style of music - it's simply a choice of instrumentation (in this case its lack thereof). 'A cappella' is found in virtually every style of music, and is a part of the musical tradition of every culture around the globe.
Do I have to know how to read music?
You do not need to be able to read music to join our chorus. Some of our members can read music and others can’t. Besides using sheet music, we are coached by our music director to learn the parts for each song, and provided with teach CDs to allow you to learn the songs at your leisure. Members of our group can also access their private Members Area and download pdf files of the music, as well as mp3 files of the vocal parts for many songs.
How much do I have to know about music to be in the chorus?
While it is true that the more you know, the better off you are, it is also true that most choral singers have average voices and little previous musical training. If you can sing on pitch and have a desire to learn, you already have most of the basic skills you need to get started.
Do I need to be a “trained” singer?
No - the requirements are the ability to sing in tune, and to “hold your part”. Singing well, with good vocal production, is important to a chorus' sound.
What is falsetto singing?
Falsetto is the technique of singing whereby the tone produced has a light, "head voice" quality; this use of a "false" voice, which is what the term really means, enables a bass or a baritone to imitate a female voice, for example an alto singer. Unless a person has that rare talent of singing with a naturally high voice, most of the music in the Tenor voice part is sung in falsetto.
What is the range of the various vocal parts?
The standard range, or compass, of the traditional parts is found in Music. Note that the ranges aren't meant to describe possible capability, just the vast commonality that arrangers typically use when playing it "safe". If you're wondering what voice part you are, understand that range is only part of the equation. The "centre" or "sweet part" of your range may tell you more than the range of notes you can hit. Some popular musical styles and techniques have challenged the traditional ranges as many singers are often singing outside of their previously accepted range.
Am I too old to take up singing?
The idea that if you haven't started singing by a certain age then you will never be able to is wrong. No one is too old to make music. Mature singers have the advantages of greater concentration and a genuine interest in learning music for its own sake. There can be great personal satisfaction and a real sense of achievement. Many of the members of our chorus are beyond retirement age, make a great contribution to our choir and have fun whilst doing so!
Will it cost me anything to join?
Like all organisations we have overheads that must be considered, such as insurance cover, photocopying, music purchase, refreshments at rehearsals, etc. However, we are a non- profit-making organisation, so any money we receive for performances is re-invested into the group for our expenditure on items such as these. The only expense you may be expected to make is a small annual membership fee and a contribution towards your barbershop outfit (see the pictures in our Gallery for an idea of what we wear).
How often do you rehearse?
We generally rehearse weekly on a Sunday from about 11.45am to 1.15pm (Sept-May) and
Wednesday 8pm to 10pm (Summertime). If we have a special performance due, we may occasionally rehearse more frequently or for longer, but for the majority of the year we have a light rehearsal timetable. This arises primarily from the fact that we expect our members to rehearse at home or wherever they are comfortable, using our teach CDs and downloaded music. It couldn't be easier.
How do I find you?
Click on Contact Us for accurate directions to our rehearsal venue at Scoil Carmel, Firhouse Road, Dublin 24.