The Lockers Tokyo is a barbershop-oriented group. If you are not familiar with the concept, here is a general summary:
a four part acapella style of music originating in the USA
sung with four different voice parts - Tenor, Lead, Baritone and Bass (more on those later)
entertainment focused. Barbershop arrangements typically have simple lyrics, singable melodies and are designed to engage and entertain audiences.
great for singers! The types of harmonies employed and the sparse directions in terms of tempo and dynamics make it easy to sing barbershop the way you want to sing it.
Tenor, Lead, Baritone or Bass?
Barbershop is sung with four different voice parts - Tenor, Lead, Baritone and Bass. Unlike in most vocal styles, these voice parts correspond more strongly to roles within the ensemble, more than vocal ranges. Not to say that having a low voice won't help you be a good bass, but singing like a bass is just as important! So what do those roles really consist of?
Lead: As the lead, it's your job to sing the melody and communicate the emotion of the song to the audience. It's a great role to be expressive in, and takes lots of charisma and consistency. The other parts will be working around you to make you the star, which can be very exciting! It's typically written in the range of a classical tenor, but below the barbershop tenor. Incidentally, having the melody in the second highest part is one of barbershop's most defining characteristics.
Bass: The bass's job is to provide the foundation of the sound. As you might expect, it's the lowest part, and a lot of the time is considerably lower even than the baritone. Because the other parts are relying on you, it can feel fantastic to sing bass when everything is locking in. You'll form a strong relationship with the lead to become the powerful center of the sound.
Tenor: If you love singing high and beautiful, this is the part for you! The tenor is the highest part in the ensemble, and is often written in a way that would form a duet for the lead part. Where the other parts have a lot of responsibilities in forming the core of the sound, you are floating freely on top being that extra sparkle that brings so much life and magic to the sound. Light, bright, and precise is the name of the game!
Baritone: Sometimes described as the "anti-lead", as a baritone you have to be everywhere at once, filling out the sound between the lead and the bass, adjusting from moment to moment to make each chord sound amazing. You'll find yourself singing parts which feel a bit random and without coherency on their own. Being the glue that holds everything together and singing in service of the overall sound, rather than your own part, is the challenge that makes singing baritone such a fun and rewarding experience.