I dearly love the sound of four-part harmony. The mingling of LEAD, TENOR, BARITONE and BASS can always send shivers down my spine. Even as a child this style of singing was a favorite of mine. My family indulged in this type of music, although some might say not very well. It did, however, offer us the opportunity to use what talents that we possessed and was pleasing to us, if not to others.
The music that we were most familiar with was Gospel. This form of music leaned heavily toward four-part harmony. Four voices perfectly pitched and blended into one sound while singing praise and thanksgiving is almost a religion in itself.
The love of singing harmony was not limited to records and airwaves. It was prevalent in cotton fields, barbershops and homes. Anywhere, that four people with the ability to carry one of the parts would get together, became a theater and could usually draw a crowd.
When I was young, singing was done for the love of it rather than for commercial reasons. Sometimes there were contests, but no group entered with the hope of winning, only for the sheer enjoyment of making a joyful sound.
I still get goose bumps when I hear some of the great quartets harmonizing. The love of harmony has stayed with me for all these many years. I once was a member of a barbershop chorus that included men from all walks of life: doctors, judges, laborers, cooks and clerks. They participated for only one reason, their love of close harmony.
They sported a very unique logo that stated, "If you're too busy to sing, you're too busy."
When I hear a group with the ability to harmonize, but the music that they choose to sing is only the lead part, I get a sad feeling and think "what a waste." They could sound so good and inspire so many, if only they would utilize their God given talents. I know that some music is not written for harmony, but if it IS, then go for it. There is nothing more soothing and inspiring than to hear voices blended so closely that you cannot determine just who is singing which part.
I am sure that there are those who will disagree with me and this is their right, but to me the sounds of music will always be FOUR-PART HARMONY.