A Cappella is an Italian form of music performed in the chapel. In today’s world, it is considered a genre but it is a style of musical performance. It is music performed by human voices alone to be precise. Any type of music may be performed a cappella way this includes the orchestration sounds too. The term a cappella is often used to mean voices-only performance of modern genres of music from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Historically, the Italian term a cappella refers to music performed in the style of the chapel. This implies that the vocal music was not secular and was very sacred in subject-matter. It was often liturgical, performed as part of religious service. The earliest demonstrated vocal music was monophonic, consisting of a single vocal line or melody. Musicologists have been debating on how to promote this form of music.
Singer of this form of music requires to be very talented, singing coherently is not what everyone is capable of doing. These artists are incredibly fun to be with. There’s something wonderful about standing among a group of people and creating all those overtones and harmonies. This is purely differentiated styles of vocal delivery and visual performance, for which one needs strong lungs and vocal cords. Jewish and Christian musicians were originally a cappella, and this practice has continued in both of these religions as well as in Islam.
A Cappella singers must be able to vibrate their voice at the right frequency to produce the musical notes. And to do that, right level of tension and tightness needs to be created in the lungs and diaphragm as these two need to supply just the right amount of air to cause the vibration. Three parts of the body are most important as they create air support and they are lungs/diaphragm, the laryngeal muscles and the vocal folds themselves. The first two will vary if the artist isn’t a trained singer. But with training, experience, and physical warm-ups, one can make his/her vocal control more consistent.
Our voice depends on our physical condition, and since we have no control over our bodies, there are times when our high notes sound better than the lower and vice versa. Factors such as dryness in body, weather changes, sore throat, excessive smoking, the food you consume, unnecessary tension and stress, and others can also really affect the vocal production.
The a cappella artists need to continuously train their vocal technique to ensure easiness to sing high notes even on days when they are not at their absolute best. Incorporating good health habits such as smoking less, having enough hours of sleep, and drinking a lot of water, a little bit of breathing exercise helps a lot in maintaining good vocal health. Let’s not forget that that voice is produced within our bodies, unlike the sound of any musical instrument. And even with much training it can vary from day to day for many physiological and psychological reasons. A Cappella form of music requires regular and quite intensive training of the right kind the degree of variation and it is highly creative.
I am surprised how a cappella is not famous yet on Indian television channels. The Western world has some very famous A Cappella groups. In India, barring few numbers, it is yet to catchup. Pitch Perfect is a musical comedy film released in 2012 directed by Jason Moore. The plot of the movie follows Barden University’s all-girl a cappella group known as ‘The Barden Bellas.’ This group compete against another a cappella group from their college to win Nationals. The film is loosely adapted from Mickey Rapkin’s non-fiction book, titled Pitch Perfect. It showcases the talent required for the form of music.