Stay in Your Own (Musical) Backyard: Segregation, Discrimination, and the Cost of “Keeping it Barbershop.�

Speaker: Clifton Boyd, Yale University

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Description: In tandem with their desire to preserve the barbershop style, the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) has historically discriminated against those deemed to be outside of this musical tradition, particularly women and people of color. In order to combat this history, the BHS recently launched a new strategic vision, “Everyone in Harmony.� Yet the question remains: how is the changing social culture of the BHS reflected in the musical aesthetics of the barbershop style? In this talk, I examine how music theory has historically been instrumentalized within the BHS to influence and affirm the Society’s discriminatory sociopolitical values.

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