Quartets were originated in the mid-1800’s they were an outgrowth of the “African American Singing Movement.” Quartets are a cappella vocal group that were first known as jubilee quartets because of the nature of performance characteristics. Quartets consisted of a group of 4-6 members mainly men that “sung a four-part harmony arrangement a cappella style of with limited instruments.” The Quartet genre had three different periods: Jubilee (1880-1929), Transitional (1930-1945), and Gospel (1946-1969)
Some characteristics that quartets had was that they had different roles depending on your singing style.You have the “Base” which is the person that harmonizes real low. The “Tenor” sings the highest and harmonizes above the melody. The “Baritone” sings above and below the lead. And the “Lead” has the strongest voice and sings the main part.
Since quartets became very popular it provided away for African Americans to be viewed differently. They became very successful just from using their voices and singing. They came a long way from slavery to now being entertainers.
The Golden Gate Quartet
The Dixie Hummingbirds
The Five Blind Boys of Alabama
At the end of the 19th century quartets started to rise and become more popular. The invention of the radio had come about around this time. A lot of quartets started to record in studios, got broadcasted on the radio, did commercials, and toured. All of these things got quartets noticed by a broader audience.
Influences of Future Genres
Jubilee Quartets had influences on gospel music because they “began to transition to gospel repertoire and performance style.” They also had an influence on ragtime music. Ragtime and Jubilee Quartets went hand in hand. They both brought about jazz and blues music plus many more genres.
Quartets have had a big impact on music. They are the reason groups are formed to this day. Quartets are very different because you can sing with music or without it, either way they still sound great. That is due to the fact that they sing in sync with one another. Without quartets African American music would not be the same or as broad.