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From “the Chord Was King” to “a Dynamic Journey”: Changes in the Barbershop Quartet Style in Contests Since the 1950s

From “the Chord Was King” to “a Dynamic Journey”: Changes in the Barbershop Quartet Style... ROBERT G. HOPKINS From “the Chord Was King” to “a Dynamic Journey” : Changes in the Barbershop Quartet Style in Contes ts Since the 1950s Various entities aim to preserve different styles of American music. The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America seeks “to preserve the traditional spirit and art form of Bluegrass music.” The goal of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society is “to cultivate and preserve the tradition of blues music.” The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, now doing business as the Barbershop Harmony Society, aims “to perpetu - ate the old American institution: the barbershop quartet and barbershop harmony.” But what exactly does it mean to preserve a particular style or musical tradition? Who defines the art form? How is it preserved? What is preserved? These are among the many difc fi ult questions for any organization whose mission is to preserve a musical art form. This article considers how the Barbershop Harmony Society (hereafter “the society”) has used contests to preserve a defined barbershop quar - tet style and details the similarities and differences between top contest performances of the late 1950s and those of the twenty-first http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

From “the Chord Was King” to “a Dynamic Journey”: Changes in the Barbershop Quartet Style in Contests Since the 1950s

American Music , Volume 38 (1) – Apr 3, 2020

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

ROBERT G. HOPKINS From “the Chord Was King” to “a Dynamic Journey” : Changes in the Barbershop Quartet Style in Contes ts Since the 1950s Various entities aim to preserve different styles of American music. The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America seeks “to preserve the traditional spirit and art form of Bluegrass music.” The goal of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society is “to cultivate and preserve the tradition of blues music.” The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, now doing business as the Barbershop Harmony Society, aims “to perpetu - ate the old American institution: the barbershop quartet and barbershop harmony.” But what exactly does it mean to preserve a particular style or musical tradition? Who defines the art form? How is it preserved? What is preserved? These are among the many difc fi ult questions for any organization whose mission is to preserve a musical art form. This article considers how the Barbershop Harmony Society (hereafter “the society”) has used contests to preserve a defined barbershop quar - tet style and details the similarities and differences between top contest performances of the late 1950s and those of the twenty-first

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Apr 3, 2020

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