Barbershop Vocabulary & Acronyms

Party after a chapter meeting or show.
Barber Polecat songs The 12 songs every Barbershopper should know. See the Barber Polecat songbook in your new member kit.
Barbershop seventh The cornerstone chord of the barbershop style, consisting of the root, the Major third above, the perfect fifth above, and the minor seventh above, as in a chord consisting of F, A, C, E-flat.
Bell chord A musical arranging device in which a chord is sung as a succession of notes by each voice in turn – a vocal arpeggio.
BOTY/BOTM Barbershopper of the Year/Month—award presented by many chapters and districts recognizing outstanding efforts.
C&J Contest & Judging program, which trains judges for singing competitions.
District One of the 17 geographic and administrative regions of the Society.
Evaluation Analysis and recommendation session—the post-competition performance review provided by the judges.
Fifth-wheeling Joining in without invitation when a quartet is singing; a breach of manners. Wait for the quartet to finish, then ask if you can sing along.
Frank H. Thorne Chapter-at-Large An “international” chapter for men who are not active in a Barbershop Harmony Society chapter.
Gang singing Informal group singing.
Harmony University Week-long summer educational program for Barbershoppers and music educators held at Missouri Western State University.
Harmony Hall Barbershop Harmony Society headquarters, located in Nashville, Tennessee
Harmony Foundation A separate, but related, organization to the Society, the Foundation raises funds for Society programs, seeks grants and sponsorships for worthwhile barbershop projects; and maintains an endowment fund for the Society.
HX Harmony Explosion Camps for high school and college singers.
Lead The man who sings the melody part. The lead line is the melody of a song.
Overtones Tones of higher pitch that are present in every musical sound and whose presence determines the quality of the musical sound. Chords locked in tune and proper volume relationship “ring” with reinforced overtones.
PROBE A Barbershop HarmonySociety subsidiary organization of Public Relations Officers and Bulletin Editors. See
Registered quartet A quartet whose name and personnel have been catalogued at Harmony Hall. Registration gives the quartet exclusive use of its name. Only registered quartets may sing in competition. Collegiate quartets are not required to be registered quartets. 
Swipe A progression of two or more chords sung on a single word or syllable; hallmark of the barbershop style.
Tag A coda; the ending of a song, often repeating the final words and designed to make a complete and satisfying arrangement.
Tune As a noun, the melody of a song; as a verb, to blend and make a more accurate or pleasing sound.
Woodshedding Impromptu quartet singing without arrangements; singing by ear.


The alphabet soup of initials which form the Society’s legal name—SPEBSQSA— were founder O.C. Cash’s way of poking fun at the numerous initialed agencies of FDR’s New Deal. The Society continues the tradition of obfuscatory fun by perpetuating numerous abbreviated designations.

ACDA American Choral Directors Association
ACDP Archives Collection and Display Project
AHSOW Ancient And Harmonious Society Of Woodshedders—Barbershop Harmony Society subsidiary devoted to preserving the practice of harmonizing without arrangements; see woodshedding.
AIC Association of International Champions.
AISQC Association of International Seniors Quartets Champions
ASCAP American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers
BHS Barbershop Harmony Society
BMAL Board Member-At-Large
BMC Board Management Council
BMI Broadcast Music, Inc.
C&J Contest and Judging
CAPAC Canadian Association of Publishers, Arrangers, and Composers
CAR Cardinal District
CBQC Harmony Foundation Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Contest.
CDD Chorus Director Development
CDDC Chorus Director Development Committee
CDWI Chorus Director Workshop Intensive
COTS Chapter Operations Training Seminar (now known as Leadership Academy)
CBQC Harmony Foundation Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Contest.
CSD Central States District
CSLT Chapter Support and Leadership Training
CVP Chapter Vice President
DACJC District Associate Contest and Judging Chairman
DIX Dixie District
DP District President
DVP District Vice President
DVP-CDD District Vice President for Chorus Director Development
DVP-CSLT District Vice President for Chapter Support and Leadership Training
DVP-CJ District Vice President for Contest and Judging
DVP-MP District Vice President for Music and Performance
DVP-MS District Vice President for Member Services
DVP-YMH District Vice President for Youth In Harmony
EVG Evergreen District
EVP Executive Vice President
FWD Far Western District
HEP Harmony Education Program
HF Harmony Foundation, the Society’s charitable arm
HOD House of Delegates
IPP Immediate Past President
IPT Integrated Product Team
ILL Illinois District
JAD Johnny Appleseed District
L&R Laws and Regulations
LOL Land O’Lakes District
M&PR Marketing and Public Relations
M-AD Mid-Atlantic District
MENC Formerly Music Educators National Conference. Now known as MENC:The National Association for Music Education
NED Northeastern District
NSC Carolinas District
ONT Ontario District
OT Operations Team
PIO Pioneer District
PPDG Planning and Program Development Group
PR Public Relations
PROBE Public Relations Officers and Bulletin Editors
RMD Rocky Mountain District
SCJC Society Contest and Judging Committee
SLD Seneca Land District
SPEBSQSA Legal name for the Barbershop Harmony Society. Stands for Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing In America, Inc.
SUN Sunshine District
SWD Southwestern District
WHC World Harmony Council
WHJ World Harmony Jamboree
WP Work Plan
XQ eXtreme Quartetting, also known as Harmony Brigade
YIH Youth in Harmony