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Hopkins on the Changing Style of the Barbershop Quartet


Robert Hopkins
Robert Hopkins

An article by Associate Professor of Music Rob Hopkins appears in the spring issue of American Music, a peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Illinois Press.

In “From ‘the Chord Was King’ to ‘a Dynamic Journey’: Changes in the Barbershop Quartet Style in Contests Since the 1950s,” Hopkins considers how the Barbershop Harmony Society has used contests to preserve a defined barbershop quartet style and compares top contest performances of the late 1950s with those of the 21st century.

Using personal interviews and communications, video resources, published articles and arrangements, and changes in barbershop contest rules and style definitions, Hopkins shows “how top quartet performances have changed from a time when the aim of top quartets was singing perfectly tuned chords to a time when the performers were also committed to providing the audience with an emotionally satisfying and entertaining experience — a dynamic journey.”

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