Barbershop Harmony

by John B
(Pembroke, MA. U.S.A)

How do you teach singing a justly-intoned chord versus a piano(tempered)chord?


That's a good question, John, and I can't answer it. As a pianist with relative pitch, not perfect pitch, I tend to say "good enough" if the sounds match the piano. Though I sometimes talk about just versus equal temperament tuning with my students, I don't do anything with it.

Perhaps that's why tuning stringed instruments is always a challenge for me -- I'm never quite satisfied with them even if they do match the piano. Especially if the piano hasn't been tuned for a bit... the ear becomes accustomed to the sound and can fool you!

Here's a corny idea -- what about using an electronic tuner and making the choir watch for the "Green Light" when they've got exactly the right note, and memorizing the way that feels? Certainly, the more they warm up with thirds and sixths, the better they listen, and the more they sing in tune.

You sound like a perfectionist... which means your choir probably sounds wonderful.

Perhaps someone else has good ideas about tuning up barbershop quartets?

Click here to read or post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Story or Question about Music Teaching?.

Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.