Music with a smooth sound.

Mellow Music


Here are a few suggestions about singing this kind of music.

†† This stuff is NOT EASY! If you are used to singing standard† barbershop songs, this music is a lot harder to sing well. It's full of 6th chords, major and minor 7th chords, and 9th chords. You have to learn how to tune them.

1. For a 6th chord, the 6th has to be tuned low.† To find this sound, sing a 6th chord: 1-3-5-6 (numbered from the bottom).† Then bend the 6th note down until you hear† the notes ďmeltĒ together into that cool sound.

2. For a major 7th chord, the major 7th has to be tuned very high.† To find this sound, sing a standard major chord:† 1-3-5-8.† Then try to bend the 8th note down about 1/4 tone.† Youíll probably go a little farther, but thatís where itís supposed to be.† This is a real challenge for the guy singing the 1 note, because the two notes (1 and 7) are so close together.† Itís very easy for one of the voices to get pulled into the other note, and lose the 7th chord completely.

3. A 9th chord, to be complete, is 1-3-5-7-9.† But with only 4 voices, one of the notes has to be left out ó but thatís OK.† You still get the 9th chord sound, although the sound will vary, depending on the note thatís missing, and the voicings.† But the key point is that the bass note needs to be very strong, compared with the other voices.

4. If nothing else seems to work, sing it softer; and make sure that all 4 notes are being sung at the same volume level.† One note sticking out can mess up the smooth sound.


†The chords have to be tuned EXACTLY RIGHT! In my view, standard barbershop is a very forgiving type of music; that is, if you only get it about 85% right, it still sounds pretty good (although you can't win a contest singing it like that). But with this mellow sound, if you only get it 85% right, it will sound TERRIBLE! In fact, you have to get it at least 99% accurate to make it sound the way it should -- smooth and mellow!


DON'T sing it loud! On a volume scale of 1 -- 5, if you sing it louder than about 2.5, it's no longer a mellow sound. Besides, if you pay attention to the lyrics, mellow songs don't want to be sung loud. (I cringe whenever I hear a mellow song that has been pumped full of barbershop chords, and closed with a screaming tag!!)