AFTERGLOW Informal harmony singing after a performance usually at convention and prelims.
ASPIRATE Breathy. The sound of unvocalized breath passing over the vocal folds.
BARBERSHOP SEVENTH The chord which is the hallmark of the style, made up of the root (keynote), major third, fifth and flattened seventh notes (not the major seventh) of the chord, which is particularly suitable for producing ‘expanded sound’ (see below).
BALLAD A word used to group songs which usually have a strong emotional lyric, and may be sung either in tempo or freely.
BELL CHORD A succession of notes sung by each part in turn usually starting with the bass or tenor note.
CHEST VOICE A term related to imagery, not reality. The feeling of sympathetic vibrations in the chest
CHINESE SEVENTH A dominant seventh chord voiced with the fifth in the bass and the root and seventh in the top two voices, the higher note being the root.
CLOSED VOWEL Singer’s term for a vowel which has a smaller opening, i.e. “ee”, “ih” or “oo”.
CONVENTION An annual event held by LABBS for the competing choruses and quartets.
CHOREOGRAPHY Movements integrated into a song in order to enhance the performance.
CRESCENDO A gradual increase in volume.
DECRESCENDO A gradual decrease in volume.
DIAPHRAGM Large, dome-shaped muscular partition separating the chest and stomach cavities. It is the principal muscle involved with breathing.
DIPHTHONG A sound composed of two consecutive vowels in a single syllable.
DOWNBEAT The first beat in a bar.
EASYBEAT A word used to group songs sung to a strict tempo, in a relaxed style.
ECHO An arranger’s device used to enhance a song musically and lyrically usually with the leads holding on to a word whilst the harmony parts change notes and repeat words from the end of the phrase.
EXHALATION Breathing out. In singing it is the act of managing the release of breath needed for the length of a phrase.
EXPANDED SOUND The effect created from the combined interaction of voices sung with accurate intonation, uniform word sounds in good quality, proper volume relationships that reinforce the more compatible harmonics producing an effect (greater than the sum of individual voice parts.
FALSETTO The thin, upper range of the voice where only the extreme outer edges of the vocal folds vibrate.
FIFTH The fifth note of the scale (e.g. G in the scale of C).
FIFTH WHEELING A cardinal sin! Singing along with a quartet. This is never done.
FORWARD FOCUS The sensation of producing sound in the facial area.
GLISSANDO A sliding, pitch effect.
HARMONY COLLEGE Usually an annual event held by LABBS for intense training purposes for ALL LABBS members.
HARMONICS Another term for overtones. Tones of a higher pitch that are present in every musical sound though are not sung or played.
INHALATION The act of breathing in.
INSIDE SMILE A mental imagery concept that aids in lifting the upper lip away from the front teeth. It assists in extending the vocal tract, raising the soft palate and adds animation to the face.
INTERVAL The difference in pitch between two notes.
INTONATION The singing or playing in tune, either good or bad.
IMPLOSION Compression of air between the closed glottis and the closed oral and nasal passages, forming the voiceless consonants “p”, “t” and “k”.
LARYNX The “voice box” – It contains the vocal folds.
LEGATO Smooth singing with no apparent interruption from articulation.
MASK A mental imagery term used to indicate the forward area of the face.
MUSICAL PHRASE The natural division of a melodic line.
OPEN VOWEL Singer’s term for a vowel which has a wider opening, i.e “oh”, “ah”, or “aw”.
OVERTONES See Harmonics.
PICK-UP An arranger’s device, starting a phrase on the upbeat with one voice part only, usually lead or bass, joined by the other parts on the downbeat of the next bar.
POLECAT In the US in the early 70s programme was promoted of a selected group of easy arrangements that everyone should learn so that it would be a common repertoire for all barbershoppers. A common phrase around the time was “hep-cat” – which implied that the person was “hep” and really “cool”. With the thought of real cool cats gathering around a barbershop pole singing, the name “Barberpole Cat” was adopted for the common repertoire programme. This has been distorted since to simply “Polecat”.
REGISTER The classification of parts of the vocal range according to the method of production chest, mixed, head and falsetto.
REPERTOIRE The songs that the singers are prepared to perform publicly.
RESONANCE A body of air that vibrates. The singer attempts to control the ‘containee’ which holds the air, thus affecting quality.
RESONATORS Any of the parts and cavities of the vocal instrument that acoustically reinforce sound. Principal resonators are the throat and mouth, with sympathetic vibrations in the upper chest and nasal area,
RISERS Raked staging used at competitions
RISER TIME Short rehearsal period at Convention for competitors on the stage where the competition will be held.
ROOT NOTE The first note in a scale. Also known as the key note, (e.g. C in the key of C).
SCOOPING Starting a tone off-pitch (usually below pitch) and adjusting to the correct pitch after initiating the sound.
SING-OUT The term used when singing repertoire for the general public, as a show or part of a concert.
STAGE LEFT The left hand side of the stage when facing the audience.
STAGE RIGHT The opposite of the above.
SWIPE An arranger’s tool which enhances a song. A series of chords sung whilst sustaining one word.
SYNCHRONIZATION Precision in singing which includes attacks and releases of words, uniformity of word sounds and rhythmic exactness.
TAG The coda or special ending added to an arrangement of a song. Sometimes they are sung on their own for pure pleasure!
TEMPO The rate of speed of a musical composition.
THIRD The third note in the scale, (e.g.. E in the scale of C ).
TONAL CENTRE Giving preference to one tone, so that the tonic becomes the centre to which all other tones are related. The tonal centre should remain constant, barring a key change, until the song’s conclusion.
TONE A musical tone having a definite pitch and regularity of vibration rate. Also the interval between two notes comprising of two semi-tones. (e.c,. C and D are a tone apart).
TONIC CHORD A major triad built on the key (or root) note of any given scale. In the key of C major, the tonic chord is C-E-G.
TREMOLO Excessively wide or fast vibrato that leads to a loss of a distinct sense of central pitch. Usually caused by poor breath support and a faulty control of the singing muscles.
TRIPHTHONG A single syllable consisting of three consecutive vowel sounds.
TUNE-UP The notes sung (usually creating a chord) which allow the singers to reach their first note of the song
UNISON The combined sound of two or more voices at the same pitch.
UP BEAT The last beat in the bar.
UPTEMPO A word used to group songs sung to strict tempo at a faster pace than easy-beats.
VIBRATO A regular, periodic pitch oscillation above and below a tonal centre. A natural phenomenon when used with a minute variation in pitch to give warmth and colour to the tone quality.
VOCAL FOLDS Two muscular bands in the larynx cavity which vibrate and create varying pitches by adjusting tension a-ainst the upward flow of air.
VOICEBOX A social and educational magazine produced for LABBS members.
VOWEL A speech sound uttered with voice or whisper characterised by the resonance from the vocal cavities.