What is acappella music?

Many people often wonder what really constitutes Acappella (or A cappella) music. Some people think of a religious setting such as a Catholic Cathedral, or monastic (monk) singing. Some think of Barbershop singing. Some think of vocal jazz artists such as Bobby McFerrin, known mostly for his song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. And the younger generation thinks of recent pop-acappella and collegiate acappella artists they’ve fallen in love with from collegiate acappella competitions or even television competitions such as “The Sing-Off” where artists such as Pentatonix, BYU Vocal Point, Straight No Chaser, Tonic Sol-Fa, and the list goes on.

Florian Stadtler of Vocal Blog has written a great article with insight into the various types of acappella music.

What exactly is a cappella? – by Florian Stadtler (Vocal Blog fouder)

Florian tends to side towards what we deem “pop-acapella” in his article, suggesting this version of acappella singing is more evolved than that of Barbershop or Madrigal acappella music. He describes other types of acappella singing such as barbershop and do-wop as “corny” and “square”. We would disagree. Each type of acappella singing has its place, which is why we strive to cover all genres of acappella music. Just talk to any member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and they will tell you about great experiences they’ve had with barbershop “ringing”. But Florian does provide some great insight into the different varieties, which is why his article is a great read.

Florian does note that there really is no “one” type of acappella music and that it depends on the singer. Each singer can customize their own version of acappella music.

We hope that our fans enjoy all of the genres of music we sing. Many of the men in our group come from a choral education or performance background. A handful of us sing with the American Festival Chorus which is directed by Dr. Craig Jessop, former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is our love for choral music which pushes us past singing purely Do-Wop and pop-acappella music. Acappella genres such as barbershop music preserve some of the great songs from times long past. Do you ever hear the modern pop-acappella groups singing songs like Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Yes Sir That’s My Baby, Lida Rose, or other such songs? There are a couple barbershop groups we love that have even taken some more modern songs that could be sung acappella in a pop style, but rather arranging them in barbershop style which we love. Two of these groups are Vocal Spectrum and Max Q.

Likewise, do-wop acappella provides an opportunity to preserve some of the great “golden oldie” songs. Songs such as “Come Go With Me” as performed by the Drifters. Songs such as “Goodnight Sweetheart (It’s time to go)”, Billy Joel’s “Longest Time”, etc. Yes, pop-acappella music is more similar to Do-Wop. But Florian declares that the older style of do-wop is “corny” and “square”. You can bet the older generation of our fans would disagree, as would we.

One of our main influences is the King’s Singers, which although they mainly sing a more classical version of acappella music, also delve into many other types of acappella music. They are the best example of great choral education producing the most precise type of acappella sound. A very pure and perfect sound. Then add the influences of groups such as  Chanticleer and Cantus, and you can see how vast our repertoire could get.

We love sharing all of these types of acappella music with our fans. Not every type appeals to everyone, but no matter what type of person you are, we will sing some type of acappella music that you will enjoy. And we hope our fans can share us with their friends and family so more people can enjoy the many “colors” of acappella music.

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About Ben Burt Sings

I am co-founder of the the Acafellas and Men's Acappella Chorus of Cache Valley @MensAcaChorusCV and I am also a Bass Singer in the American Festival Chorus http://bit.ly/pxJ13f @AmFestChorus http://bit.ly/tLymHN

Posted on January 9, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I’ve found something which helped me.
    Cheers!

  2. If you’re referring to help with the definition of Acappella music, I’m glad we could help you. Thanks for the comment! We love Acappella music.

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