A cappella singing groups have become hugely popular in recent times and have evolved a long way from barbershop quartets – some 28 Edinburgh Fringe musical performances this year describe themselves as singing a cappella.
Despite its contemporary popularity a cappella is one of the oldest forms of music and means singing without instrumental accompaniment. Although the term comes from the Italian phrase `in the manner of the church’, archaeological records suggest we were singing a cappella some three thousand years ago and it is likely that human vocal performance predates the simplest of early instruments.
In the UK contemporary a cappella singing has been led by pioneering groups such as The Flying Pickets, The Kings Singers and The Magnets.
Here’s some ideas for performances on at this year’s Fringe:
Cantica Alba – our very own Edinburgh-based ten voiced a cappella ensemble
The Oxford Gargoyles – from Oxford University singing jazz a cappella
The Other Guys – an all-male group from St Andrews University and fresh from YouTube and Top 40 success
Out of the Blue – another all-male, all-vocal group from Oxford mixing singing and comedy
Find out more about contemporary a cappella singing from the Sing a cappella – The British Contemporary A Cappella Society.
Look in the Central Music Library for more information on singing, vocal scores, and arrangements of songs. Vocal groups can borrow multiple copies of scores either from the library or through our inter-library loan system from another library. Register your group with the Music Library and ask staff for more information. Charges apply.
If you are interested in joining a singing groups or choirs – a cappella or accompanied – have a look on Your Edinburgh and search for choirs.