The Barbershop Singer: Inside the Social World of a Musical Hobby

By Robert A. Stebbins

© 1996

Barbershop singing is often dismissed by its critics as merely an enjoyable hobby. Though long popular with both its public and participants, it has been relatively neglected in the field of music studies. Robert A. Stebbins demonstrates that barbershop singing is an elaborate and complicated form of serious leisure that provides its participants with distinctive lifestyles. The Barbershop Singer is a unique case study of this significant musical genre, describing the social world of the barbershop singer and exploring its appeal for both male and female singers. Robert Stebbins traces the history of barbershop singing and compares and contrasts the worlds of jazz, classical music, and barbershop as serious leisure pursuits. Stebbins also reveals its costs and rewards, its complex organizational structures, the social marginality felt by its more dedicated participants, and the main problems facing the art today.

Although barbershop singing is clearly a circumscribed social world, understanding how it works expands current knowledge of the variant forms of social participation available to citizens of the modern world. The Barbershop Singer will be of interest to sociologists as well as those involved in the world of barbershop.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.4in x 8.9in
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SKU# SP001779

  • PUBLISHED MAY 1996

    From: $21.71

    Regular Price: $28.95

    ISBN 9780802078292
  • PUBLISHED MAY 1996

    From: $39.75

    Regular Price: $53.00

Quick Overview

Although barbershop singing is clearly a circumscribed social world, understanding how it works expands current knowledge of the variant forms of social participation available to citizens of the modern world.

The Barbershop Singer: Inside the Social World of a Musical Hobby

By Robert A. Stebbins

© 1996

Barbershop singing is often dismissed by its critics as merely an enjoyable hobby. Though long popular with both its public and participants, it has been relatively neglected in the field of music studies. Robert A. Stebbins demonstrates that barbershop singing is an elaborate and complicated form of serious leisure that provides its participants with distinctive lifestyles. The Barbershop Singer is a unique case study of this significant musical genre, describing the social world of the barbershop singer and exploring its appeal for both male and female singers. Robert Stebbins traces the history of barbershop singing and compares and contrasts the worlds of jazz, classical music, and barbershop as serious leisure pursuits. Stebbins also reveals its costs and rewards, its complex organizational structures, the social marginality felt by its more dedicated participants, and the main problems facing the art today.

Although barbershop singing is clearly a circumscribed social world, understanding how it works expands current knowledge of the variant forms of social participation available to citizens of the modern world. The Barbershop Singer will be of interest to sociologists as well as those involved in the world of barbershop.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.4in x 8.9in
  • Reviews

    'A look into a world hitherto unexplored. Stebbins provides insight into why people sing barbershop, and why they stop singing it. He discusses its organizational structures and its appeal. He compares it to the worlds of jazz and classical music. And in so doing, he helps readers on all levels understand more about barbershop singing and barbershop singers.'


    Sarah Starr
    American Reporter
  • Author Information

    Robert A. Stebbins is a professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary. He is author of The Franco-Calgarians: French Language, Leisure, and Linguistic Lifestyle in an Anglophone City and Amateurs, Professionals, and Serious Leisure.

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