About Sweet Adelines

Performance at Honor FlightYou love music? Then you’ve come to the right organization. Sweet Adelines International takes singing to the next level—not simply a single melody but rather four-part, a cappella harmony—music created from four different voice parts that beautifully blend into one chord. Stunning and challenging, all in one!

Barbershop singing is one of the trickiest yet most rewarding accomplishments of a vocal ensemble. Imagine this: you’re singing a song with three other harmonizing ladies, each hitting the perfect pitch when bam—you hear it. An overtone vibration, a resonant ring, a different sound than any one tone being sung by any one singer! This overtone produces a visceral experience and is unique only to four-part barbershop harmonies!

Although the voice parts in women's barbershop harmony have different names and functions than they do in other SATB or SSAA vocal styles, the foundation is the same—beautiful music, stunning chords and a passion to create the intangible, moving essence of music that brings us together.     -- Sweet Adelines International

We're All In The Chord

Barbershop music, which is Shades of Harmony's primary focus, is a unique four-part blend of bass, baritone, lead, and tenor parts. Each part works with the others to create a beautiful blend of sound!

Pitch PiperTenors – Tenors are at the top, usually covering the highest notes in the chord. Their part should be sung delicately and lightly. We say that tenors are “the icing on the cake.”

Leads – Leads generally sing the melody of the song. They set the pace for the drama and are in charge of the story. (Other parts might be singing “doo” or “bah” while the leads are singing real words.) The harmony parts are there to enhance the leads.

Baritones – Baritones are known as the “technicians” of the chord, creating complementary harmony and filling in the notes not sung by the other three parts in order to make four-part chords. Think of baritones as the glue that holds the chord together.

Basses – Basses sing the lowest part, the foundation of the chord. Basses are charged with driving the tempo and adding those beloved low notes.

All parts are required to make that special barbershop sound. If even one part is missing, it's pretty, but it's not barbershop. You can make a sandwich with just lettuce and tomato, and it's good, but it's not a BLT!