What is Barbershop?

What is Barbershop? Barbershop harmony is a uniquely American art form, comprised of a cappella (unaccompanied) singing in 4 distinct parts with specific theory rules, sung by women, men, and sometimes in mixed groups.

Most barbershop music is arranged based on American folk tunes, ballads, Broadway and popular tunes, original music, and any other songs that lend themselves to arrangements in the barbershop style. Owing much of its beginning history to African harmonies brought to the US by former slaves, the style developed during the turn of the 20th century by men who actually joined in barbershops singing together in small groups, hence the name. The wives of some of these men started singing the same types of arrangements and Sweet Adelines International was founded in Tulsa Oklahoma in 1945 and have been together and competing ever since.

Women started their own choruses and quartets, and arrangers started taking the songs and ensuring the arrangements were more conducive to women’s voice ranges.

The organization has grown worldwide since then, having chapters and regions across the world. All choruses sing in English, and all use the same arrangements and style. Formal musical training is not necessary – all that is required is a love to sing in a group, to be able to learn by ear and stay in tune, with the goal of achieving the best blend possible.  And finally, the love of sisterhood and dedication to keeping this art form alive and well.

Meet Our 4 Wonderful Sections

Our BassesOur Baritones

Our Basses Our Baritones


Our LeadsOur Tenors

Our Leads Our Tenors