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This FAQ updated 11/2019.

Please feel free to contact the Harmony University team at for any questions not answered below.

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Location, Registration and Pricing

Where is Harmony University?

We meet on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, located at 1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37212.

Driving? Access parking information here.

How do I register for Harmony University?

You can register for Harmony U 2020 by going to our HU 2020 Event Registration Page. Once you are there you will be able to select the College/Track you wish to register for by scrolling down through the page and selecting the college you wish to participate in.

We have both member and non-member pricing so be sure to select the correct one. If you are not a member but would like to become one to get the special pricing on HU and many other events you can do that HERE.

Once you select a college you wish to register for you will be taken to and Eventbrite page for that college. Eventbrite is our ticketing service and after you select to register you will have the option to pick how many tickets you would like to purchase and then fill in your registration form. Please read this form carefully. You will be able to tell us a little bit about yourself and share any roommate or suitemate requests. You will also be asked to pay for your registration in full at that time. If your information or requests change after you register, just let us know at and we can update your registration form.

We also offer both Resident and Commuter registrations. Residents are those that will stay in on-campus housing each night. Commuters are those that will drive into campus each day and will provide their own off-campus housing.

Can I find more information about tuition deadlines and prices?

Registration and Course Selection Dates

Registration for HU 2020 will be from November 15, 2019, to July 3, 2020. You can register for HU 2020 HERE.

Early Bird Registration pricing will be from November 15, 2019, to March 15, 2020, and standard pricing will be from March 16, 2020, to July 3, 2020.

At the time of your registration, you will pay your full tuition and fill out your housing requests but not schedule your courses. The course schedule will be announced and classes will be opened for scheduling in late February 2020. If you have already registered for HU 2020 you will receive an invitation from the BHS to begin scheduling your courses. If you register after course scheduling has opened you will receive a separate email at the time of your registration.

Harmony University 2020 Pricing

Resident - Includes on-campus housing, and all meals and activities for 7 days and 7 nights.

Commuter - Includes all on-campus meals and activities but does not include on-campus housing.

Are refunds available?

Yes, Between November 15, 2019 – June 28, 2020:

  • We will charge a $50 fee, then refund the rest of your tuition.
  • Quartet members and choruses will get individual refunds, but not the deposit.

Between June 29, 2020 – July 21, 2020:

  • We will charge a $200 fee, then refund the rest of your tuition.

After July 21, 2020:

  • We will not be able to offer a refund. We will have already committed to our vendors for the full cost.

Is there an age limit to attend Harmony University?

Yes, Harmony University is intended for adults ages 18 or older. Harmony University is located on a university campus and structured like a traditional college, with unsupervised campus housing and activities. For these reasons, we are not able to provide a youth experience at this event. Please contact us with any questions about this policy at

Can I stay at Belmont University if I do not plan to participate in HU?

Harmony University is built as an all-inclusive event that is run on an open campus in a highly populated and popular urban area. Tourists from around the world want to stay in Nashville. Our registration and badge system is designed to help BHS and Belmont staff monitor participants and identify those who might come into the campus without paying tuition. We also take into consideration that we have a finite number of available registrations (only so many beds and seats in the venue) and while we have not sold out in the past, each year it is our goal to sell out. This means that for every non-participant we bring to campus we lose the ability to have someone who would like to fully experience HU.

For these reasons, we do not have the ability to offer extensive ala carte options for varying levels of housing and student participation.

For those that are looking to bring someone who would like to be in Nashville, but not participate, or have limited participation we offer the following options.

  • Register as a full Resident participant
    • You will get housing and all meals (and ice cream!) for 7 days and 7 nights in Nashville TN for around $1000, which is a huge deal for Nashville in the Summer travel months.
    • You will have full access to general sessions, shows, and any classes you may end up wanting to take. There is no minimum to the number of classes or electives. You would be free to take as many or as few (no) classes as you wish.
  • Register as a full Commuter participant and seek your own housing
    • Heads up. It may be difficult/impossible to find housing that is less expensive than Belmont unless you are willing to drive 45 minutes away. According to, Nashville is the most expensive city to stay in the U.S. with an average of $223 a night.
    • Commuter registrations are for those living off-campus for the week. They were originally intended for those who lived in the Nashville area, but they can also be used by those who are traveling in from out of state but do not want to live on campus for a week.
    • Even if you are attending with a quartet or chorus you are NOT required to live on campus. Some may find that they would prefer a hotel or an AirB&B to accommodate family coming to Nashville when not every member would like to participate in HU.
    • The full commuter registration includes access to all classes and events, as well as all meals, but does not include housing on campus.
  • Stay off campus and purchase a Local Option Limited registration
    • The local options were originally intended for local Nashville residents to have a limited experience; that might just be evening masterclasses after work, or just participating in the Men’s or Women’s HU Chorus. However, these could also be used by family or friends who are traveling with a full participant but staying off-campus. If you would like to stay away from Belmont’s Campus but would like to be involved in a limited way please check out these options.
    • Each of the local options provides a different level of access to activities or shows, so please read the description carefully before registering.

I registered for HU, but I need to enroll in courses. How do I do that?

You can utilize our scheduling platform called SCHED. If you realize you would like to change your previously selected classes and be with your buddies in another class, you may back into our scheduling website and change as many times as you wish, but remember all classes have limited enrollment. Once the class reached capacity, you can still sign up but will be put on a waitlist. Log into SCHED by visiting:



Please note: You must register through our Registration page before you’re able to select courses for HU. To view a list of available courses in general, visit our Course Offering Information.

Is Harmony University tuition tax-deductible?

For the vast majority of our barbershop attendees, HU is NOT tax-deductible. If you are a music educator receiving continuing education hours or credits at HU, the answer is YES.

If you a music coach/director and are claiming this income on your tax return and HU is a business expense to further your career, mostly yes.

Teachers, check in with your school district and tax advisor, as many districts must grant authority to attend HU before you can claim these hours or credits.

Barbershop directors and coaches, it is less clear in the US tax code. You can find more information about this in the member center.

Getting Here

What information should I know about airport arrivals and departures?


If you are flying into Nashville (BNA), our airport shuttles to Belmont run approximately every 40 minutes on Sunday, July 26th between 12 pm and 6 pm. Give yourself a little extra time for delays. Look for the big HU signs held by BHS staff and volunteers. They will meet you at the baggage claim, ready to direct you to our chartered vehicles. If you are significantly earlier than noon or later than 6pm, you will need to catch a ride share or taxi to Belmont. Quotes range from $15 for an Uber to $33 for a Taxi. Please try to avoid midnight arrivals, as staff working room check-in would like the chance to go to bed.

If you are a commuter (not staying in the dorm), you can pick up your materials in Beaman 124 between 12pm and 6pm on Sunday or starting at 7:30am on Monday morning.


We depart for home on Sunday, August 2nd. Because Belmont has a group coming in on Monday, they must turn around hundreds of rooms quickly, so everyone needs to be off campus by 9AM.

HU offers a return shuttle service to the airport from 4 AM – 9 AM, on the hour and half hour. You may catch a flight anytime you wish, but we must be off campus by 9 AM. No exceptions.

What information should I know if I am driving to Belmont?


If you are driving to Belmont, plan to arrive on Sunday, July 26th between noon and 5 PM for registration. Access parking information HERE.

If you are a commuter (not staying in the residence halls on campus), you can pick up your materials in Beaman 124 between 12pm and 6pm on Sunday, July 26th or starting at 7:30am on Monday morning, July 27th.


We depart for home on Sunday, August 2nd. Because Belmont has a group coming in on Monday, they must turn around hundreds of rooms quickly, so everyone needs to be off campus by 9AM.

What should I pack or bring to Harmony University?

-comfortable, casual clothes for 7 days in a very warm, humid place

-comfortable walking/standing shoes (especially performing groups)



-bar soap

-clothes hangers


-1 or 2 towels - Belmont provides very, very, VERY small towels (think dish towels)

-If you are in a performing group, bring your uniform (Friday or Saturday)


-printed or electronic versions of our General Session Music (3 charts). We will not print sheet music in the BHS office once you are on campus.

-Printed or electronic versions of any handouts given by the faculty of your classes. Again, we are not able to provide printing services on campus.


-bug spray

-extra blanket (Belmont provides pretty light/thin blankets)

-sunblock (it’s sunny here… don’t burn!)

-laptop or tablet (especially for arrangers)

-pitch pipe (or download to your phone for free)

-music manuscript paper (we will sell on-site as well)

-smartphone (use our Belmont app)

-light jacket (it sometimes gets cold in the classrooms)

Is there anything I need to study or prepare in advance?

-practice with our provided learning tracks (available for download) of our general session music.

-look over the materials sent to you by your instructors (they also have your email, and will be checking in with you with materials needed for your class).

-print off any paper copied you would like to bring with you. The BHS staff will not be able to print class handout or sheet music once you arrive.

Staying Here

How does housing work at Belmont University?

We structure Belmont housing by suites, where two people occupy a room and two rooms share one bathroom. You will have a single roommate and two suitemates with a standard registration.

You will be able to request a roommate and suitemates on your individual registration form. While it is likely that we will be able to accommodate your roommate and suitemate requests, they are not guaranteed for a number of reasons. If you do not request a roommate or suitemates we will pair you with the same gender and similar age.

Beginning in June we will send out draft housing assignments to let you know where you will be staying and who will be your roommate. At this time you will have the opportunity to contact us with any concerns or updates to your requests. Again, we will do our best to meet these requests but they are not guaranteed.

We also have two single occupancy housing options available. The first option will allow you to say in a room alone, but share a bathroom with up to two other people (same gender). The second option will allow you to stay in a single occupancy room with a non-shared bathroom. Each of these options are available as add-on tickets and are not part of the standard registration. You may purchase these add-on tickets when you purchase your regular registration, or at a separate time.

Your Room

You and your roommate will each have a bed, a dresser, and a closet. Linens will be provided and consist of bed sheets, a light blanket, a washcloth, and a small bath towel. We recommend you bring the items listed in the “What should I pack or Bring to Harmony University” which is also on this FAQ list. All rooms are air-conditioned and all rooms are ADA compliant with an elevator that goes to every floor in every residence hall.

To access your residence hall from the outside AND into each hallway, you will need the white access card which will be given to you when you check-in at your residence hall. To get into your individual room, you will use a traditional metal key, which is also provided when you check-in.

Your Bathroom

To access the bathroom you will have a second door inside the room. You will not need to go into the hallway to access your bathroom.

The bathroom has a shower with a curtain, a toilet stall with a door, towel hooks, and a wide countertop with two sinks. You have the ability to lock both your room AND the OTHER room’s bathroom door. Please remember to unlock your suitemate’s door when you have finished using the bathroom.

Shared access to the bathroom means that your suitemates will have access to your room. We have not had any issues with security, but please be aware ahead of your stay.

* Do not sneak a 3rd person to sleepover in a 2 person room. It makes the people sharing your central bathroom uncomfortable, it disrespects your roommate. You and your unpaid guest will be immediately removed from campus and from further Harmony University Events.

* If your roommate or people on the other side of the bathroom are ruining your HU experience, talk to the BHS Staff or Belmont Staff right away. In a school of almost 700 people, not everyone will get along, and we can find a solution. we don’t want you to endure a bad fit.

Your Residence Hall

There will be a Belmont staff member on call at the front desk of your residence hall each afternoon. Please let the staff member know of any maintenance issues with the building or your individual room. IF the Belmont Staff member is not available please contact the BHS staff.

Belmont residence hall security is tight. They monitor every public space with cameras and 24-hour security staff.

Free WIFI is available in your room and through the residence halls. Please see the Belmont staff at your residence hall front desk if you need help connecting.

Elevators and stairs are available on each floor of all dorms.

What should I know about keys?

Because we are on a modern college campus, your room key has two parts. The first key is an electronic card that you hold in front of a reader to gain access to your residence hall and to each floor within your residence hall. It looks like a credit card. Then, attached to this card is a typical metal key. We recommend that you don’t carry your building and dorm keys on your lanyard; each year someone loses the keys! A pocket or bag is best.

We will charge you $75 for keys and $25 for the white access card not returned at checkout on Sunday. Even if you mail them on Monday morning, we will still charge this fee. Belmont immediately changes out locks for the next group coming in Monday morning and we will be charged the full replacement amount regardless of whether the key card or key are eventually returned.

What rules I should know about when staying on campus and attending classes?

No alcohol is allowed on campus, regardless of age.

We remove students for this violation every year. This is not a Barbershop Harmony Society policy, but a condition of our using the Belmont Campus. We must respect Belmont’s request and will back them up 100% of the time, even for faculty and BHS employees. No alcohol on campus. Instead, walk 300 feet across the street from campus and enjoy 1 of 3 bars located there.

Tobacco-free campus

Belmont University is a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus. Smoking, the use of tobacco products, the use of e-cigarettes, and/or vaporizers is prohibited on any part of the university campus at any time.

Weapons-free campus

Belmont University is a weapons-free campus. Weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited on university property, in university facilities, in vehicles on university property, and at university events

Belmont also requests that you not bring:

Skateboards, rollerblades, or electric scooters.

No unregistered room guests

Only students who have paid to use the dorms are allowed in rooms. If you allow for an unregistered guest to stay in your room, both you and your guest will be asked to leave campus immediately.

No unregistered students

All students and local paid guests are given name badges. If you do not have a name badge you will be asked to leave that class session. If you are not registered for Harmony University, you will be asked to leave campus.

Fragrance sensitivity

We have students that have fragrance sensitivity. To be mindful of all our attendees, we request that all participants refrain from wearing perfume, cologne, and other fragrances, and use unscented personal care products in order to promote a fragrance-free environment at Harmony University.

What should I know about my Harmony University name badge?

Your badge is your ticket to all events and activities. Week-long classes, electives, masterclasses, shows, the cafeteria, etc. will all be monitored to make sure those attending have badges. Please wear it all week. This helps both BHS staff and Belmont security track who is a Harmony University student and who is not, as well as who is eligible for the cafeteria and who is not. It also gives faculty and fellow students an easy way to use your preferred name.

What should I know about the Belmont food service?

Belmont’s 1,000 seat cafeteria is state of the art and geared towards the needs of our people! Belmont is set up to handle just about any special dietary requests. They offer a myriad of traditional choices for every meal that does not come in contact with nuts, and also offer these choices:

-Meatless options

-Allergy-free options

-Gluten-free options

You will have a chance to let us know about any dietary requests on your registration form. We will send your request to the Belmont staff and they may reach our directly if there are any further questions or concerns. If you have a request that may not be on our radar, please email us at to update your registration information. Belmont is very accommodating.

I have a medical need that requires refrigeration. Are there refrigerators in the dorms?

We will have small, dorm-style fridges available for our students who need to keep medicine, insulin, or special dietary foods.

Belmont does not have any refrigerators in the residence halls, but they will allow us to add a small refrigerator, for medical purposes, to the first floor. These fridges will be in a central location near your check-in location in each residence hall. You will be sharing this unlocked fridge with other students, so please clearly mark your items. We can’t store your ice or leftover pizza, just medical supplies or special dietary needs.

Are scooter rentals available?

Yes! We negotiate a group discount through a company called All-Star Medical (phone: 615-730-9438) to supply scooters for the week of HU. You will need to order your own scooter, but don’t wait too long before you order, as they always sell out before HU. Mention that you are attending Harmony University at Belmont. Trent or Kevin will collect all your pertinent information, take a credit card number, and have your scooter waiting for you when you arrive.

All-Star Medical will:

-Drop off your scooter at Belmont prior to your arrival

-Provide a charging unit for you to use each night

-Pick up at your scooter and charger after your departure

The 2019 pricing structure was:

-$130 for the week (up to 300 lb capacity scooter)

-$170 for the week (up to 350 lb capacity scooter)

Please place your order with All-Star Medical before July 1st. You are welcome to ask after that date, but it is unlikely they will have any scooters left.

Are there laundry facilities on campus?

Yes, and it's free! All you need is your key card to get into the room, and the washing machine and dryer are available to use at no cost, but you have to have laundry detergent.

If you plan on washing your clothes during the week, pack a small amount of detergent for the weekend and you will be all set.

Is there access to a fitness center on campus?

Yes! It is located in Beaman Hall. The cost to utilize the facilities at Belmont University is $35 for a week-long membership with no doctor’s note required!

For the most up-to-date hours available, visit Belmont’s Web site. In general, the facilities are available: Monday – Friday 6 AM – 7 PM

* Monday – Friday 6 AM – 7 PM

* Saturday 1 PM – 5 PM

Participation & Learning

Are there any local options for participation?

Saturday Day Pass

Join us on Saturday, August 2 for a day of learning! We will have a full day of electives, a Closing General Session, AND an amazing Saturday Night Show. Click here to see a sample schedule!

Show Only Pass

This pass grants access to the Friday and Saturday Night Shows. On Friday, groups from all over the world who have been practicing all week will be ready to show what they have been working on.

Saturday will feature the HU men’s chorus, women’s chorus, Next Generation chorus, and a few surprise groups. Stay for ice cream afterward – our treat!

HU Men’s, Women’s, and Next Generation Choruses

Join the HU Men’s or HU Women’s Chorus Monday - Friday and sing on the Saturday Night Show! This is for local folks who can’t spend a week on campus but can find 2 hours a day to rehearse in a world-class group, directed by world-class leaders. Heads up: this local ticket does not include food or dorm.

View our Registration Page to register!

I'm not attending with my quartet or chorus, but I want to sing in a group. What can I do?

We have many options available. These activities require little or no preparation, and these are not formal classes:

-General session singing- We start each day singing as a choir of 700+, learning a new warm-up, song, and tag each day

-Tag singing all over the school, at all hours of the day

-HU Woodshedding Room - Woodshedding is where barbershop began: 4 people harmonizing and finding new and exciting chords. Remember, it has an element of improvisation and chance. Your group will sing notes that (perhaps) don’t work, but you are never more than a step away.

These activities require some music preparation before you arrive. These are formal classes from Monday – Friday with no prerequisite.

-Next Generation Chorus is for our young men and women from 18 to 25. Rehearse two times per day at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (2 hours each session).

-HU Men's Chorus is for men 18 and over. Rehearse Monday - Friday at 1 pm, learning 3 songs before we arrive. During the week, we will learn new performance concepts you can take back home, then sing on the Saturday night show for the best barbershop audience on the planet.

-HU Women's Chorus is for women 18 and over. Rehearse Monday - Friday at 1 pm, learning 3 songs before we arrive. During the week, we will learn new performance concepts you can take back home, then sing on the Saturday night show for the best barbershop audience on the planet.

This activity requires significant music preparation. Monday – Thursday night

-Quartet Brigade. Show up to HU knowing 6 songs cold, and sing in different quartet configurations but with you always singing the same part. The event planners remind you to be overly prepared, otherwise, it can hurt the experience of the other 3 hoping to sing in a quartet with you.

Enrollment in Brigade is an HU extra event, therefore it has an additional cost associated. Brigades are limited to 15 singers per part and subject to audition. Men and women are welcome to participate but must sing the music in the keys written.

To fill out the application to participate, CLICK HERE.

I want to learn more about coaching quartets or choruses. Can I do that at HU?

To learn more about the coaching apprentice or observer programs and our new teaching assistant program, as well as the requirements to be involved in each, you can CLICK HERE to visit our webpage.

What should I know about elective courses?

Electives are based on adult education models that offer a myriad of great content. Sometimes it HURTS to choose one class over another. We feel your pain. Some classes will be standing room only. Some will have 10 people. The content is still good for a small class! These are all posted in the lunchtime elective and master class tabs on the main page!

If you sign up, it gives us a rough headcount, and we will know that 150 people are interested in the class on underwater barbershop techniques. Now we know to use a larger room.

All electives are stand-alone classes that are 45-minutes long. You may attend any class you wish… don’t worry about your college. Classes meet at 1 pm Monday - Friday, and 7 pm Monday - Wednesday nights. Saturday is an elective only day, where students may select both new elective offerings and several electives offered earlier in the week they may have missed. Classes are offered at 8 am, 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, and 1 pm.

The best part is you can decide to switch, or go to another class, or just walk across the street to have an adult beverage. Your call!

Are private lessons available?

YES! These are for anyone who would like to grow in conducting, sight singing, vocal production, musicianship, or barbershop arranging. Music educators, directors, and the curious are welcome! If you are in Harmony college and not a director, you are invited to take a lesson in conducting. If you are Next Generation student, you are invited to take a lesson in arranging.

To enroll in lessons, go to EVENTBRITE select the number of lessons you want. Then go into SCHED and pick the day and time. If you change your mind and want to add more, you can go back to the payment site, select more lessons, and add them to your schedule.

You can find the Eventbrite Registration Link and more info here.

HEADS UP: As our registration grows, some classes will not fill, and we will cancel them, now freeing up that instructor for private lessons. About once a month, we will send updates on these added teachers (that were not available when YOU signed up). It’s possible you may want to switch lessons… you can do this in our SCHED system. It’s pretty slick.

Are Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) available?

Students that are interested in receiving graduate college credit or continuing education units/clock hours, we have them available through Adams State University.

Graduate credit @ $55

CEUs @ $45

What to Expect

I am completely new to the Barbershop Harmony Society or the art form of barbershop. What should I know?


Vocal range and octave choice matter in barbershop. Women, most of you can sing men’s tenor or lead part, but it may lie low in your range. The bass and baritone part of men’s charts might be too low for most of you. If you have the notes in the range written, please sing the part you want!

We do have a cultural request that men and women not sing anything up or down an octave of the arrangement. Because of the way our chords stack, we ask that you sing your part in the octave written. Warm-ups don’t count.

Sheet music

Barbershop publishers use the familiar voicings of TTBB, SATB or SSAA on the cover. However, once you open to the sheet music, all three voicings are converted to TLBB: barbershop Tenor, Lead, Baritone and Bass.

TTBB Barbershop: the vocal tenor clef is used in TTBB arrangements. This indicates that the parts in the treble clef are sung an octave lower. Note the subscript 8 at its bottom.

SSAA Barbershop: the octave bass clef is used in SSAA arrangements, which may not be as familiar but is the correct notation. This indicates that the parts in the bass clef are sung an octave higher. Note the superscript 8 at its top.

SATB (mixed) Barbershop: is notated with a traditional treble and bass clef, and does not use the vocal tenor or octave bass clef found in most barbershop arrangements.

As barbershop notation is only in two staves, all note stems for your part go the same direction. Tenor and baritone have note stems that always go up; lead and bass have note stems that always go down. It takes a minute to get used to, but you will quickly see how it helps you find your part quickly when notes are close together.

Learning tracks

As we mentioned above, we provide learning tracks. This is so you can hear what our music sounds like all together, but also how your part fits in. Here’s how we recommend you learn your music before you attend HU:

Listen to a full mix (both earbuds in) and follow along with the sheet music.

Take OUT the earbud with the three parts so you only hear your part. Sing along and really get a feeling for how your part goes. Try it five or six times in a row. Next, take out your part and put back in the other earbud with the three other voice parts. Try to sing your part against these three. Depending on your experience, this will take some time, and it’s OK. Just keep working at holding your part against the other three. We have found most singers struggle with this at first, but get better quickly.

If the part you are practicing is too hard, try another part. Most people say singing lead is easier to learn since you are mostly singing the melody.


Students are welcome regardless of gender. One need only consider the vocal range. Many charts might be too low for some to sing the bass/baritone part; sing whichever part feels comfortable. We do have a cultural request that you do not sing anything up or down an octave.

Singing Outside of Classes and Rehearsals

We like to sing 24/7

We sing in hallways, in bathrooms, in dorm rooms, in the closet, out of the closet, waiting in lines… you get the idea. If you are a sensitive sleeper, you may want to bring earplugs, as you will most likely hear singing in the area at 2 AM. Weird, I know.

Barbershop Performers May Freely Interpret Rhythm

Songs with moderate or fast tempi are typically performed as written. However, most slow barbershop songs and introductions are sung freely in a rubato or speech-like style. Barbershop performers often slow down at cadence points to emphasize special harmonies, with the last few chords significantly longer than notated.


Barbershoppers are very much like any music style with their own words and expressions that may seem odd at first. Here are a few that you will encounter during your stay:

First, we call our four parts:

Tenor: Tenor is the highest part, harmonizing above the Lead. Notated in the top stave, Tenor stems always point up. Tenor singers should have a light, lyric vocal quality. Male tenors usually sing this part in falsetto.

Lead: Lead is the second highest part, singing the melody. Notated in the top stave, Lead stems always point down. Lead singers should be prominent and have a dramatic and compelling vocal quality.

Baritone: Baritone sings above and below the Lead. Notated in the bottom stave, Baritone stems always point up. Baritone singers should have a lyric vocal quality. Because the Baritone is constantly filling in different parts of a chord, the unusual voice leading can be very challenging, especially to the novice barbershop Baritone.

Bass: Bass is the lowest part, singing foundational notes. Notated in the bottom stave, Bass stems always point down. The Bass part should be as prominent as the Lead, with a big, robust vocal quality.

Tag: a tag is music that is added to the end of the song, often introducing new harmonic progressions, similar to an amen. Tags are very popular in barbershop culture as standalone musical excerpts. Because they are often taught without using sheet music, tags are a wonderful way to introduce new singers to barbershop chords in just a few minutes by ear, rather than learning an entire song.

Hanger: One of the voice parts holds one long note on a single vowel of a word, while

the other voice parts change chords and words around the singer, and can be as long as 30 seconds. Ask to learn the tag “Behind” from someone at HU.

Swipe: A glissando (slide) from one note to another

Fifth Wheeling: a frowned-upon activity where a person joins a group of four uninvited by singing along. To avoid this faux pas, wait until they are done and ask if you can sing along on the part you know. They will smile and say YES!

What can I expect as the general culture of HU or barbershop in general?

We are proudly and unashamedly a G-rated, family show. We even have a code of ethics for our members that have general expectations on the back of our membership cards. Here are a few:

-We shall accept for membership only congenial persons of good character.

-We shall exhibit a spirit of good fellowship toward all members.

-We shall not permit the introduction of political, religious, or other similar controversial issues.

-We endeavor to spread the spirit of harmony throughout the world.

We ask the same of you: to be nice, encouraging, and not introduce bad energy or language to our classrooms, our meals, our dorms, and our campus. We are a super caring group of people, and we are glad you are coming to learn with us. But we expect you to be like us and show the love right back!

Why is some of the music repertoire I encounter at HU religious, gendered, or patriotic?

This is a challenge for all people involved with selecting music repertoire for any group, especially with our tradition of barbershop polecats (written in the 1890’s), general session songs, tags, and the music presented by quartets and choruses. HU planners work VERY hard to ensure our general session songs, men’s, women’s, or Next Generation choruses are not religious or patriotic.

If you have a concern around music repertoire, please reach out to us: we will listen to your concerns. But before we can make it right, you have to educate us.

Reach out directly to us at and let’s have a conversation.