Tags are characterized by a heightening of the dramatic tension of the song, frequently including a "hanger", or posted (held) note. In addition, good tags can be sung as short, stand-alone works. Tags may be soft and tender but are typically characterized by loud, "paint-peeling," ringing chords. According to the competition rules of the Barbershop Harmony Society, every song entered for a competition must have a tag.
When Barbershoppers get together, even if they have never met before, it is common for them to get into groups of four or more and sing a few tags. Those that don't know the tag being sung can be easily taught by those that do. This typically brings feelings of joy and camaraderie to all involved.
The organisation responsible for overseeing Barbershop singing and development in North America is the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS). It organises an annual convention and competition for quartets and choruses, which has become the de facto world championships for the art form. Groups from affiliate organisations in other countries are also invited to compete. Contestants must adhere to strict rules governing their performance style and the musical structure and subject material of their chosen songs.
The female counterparts to the Barbershop Harmony Society include Sweet Adelines International (SAI), Harmony, Inc (HI), and others. Mixed (male and female) Barbershop groups exist, but are not common.
For more information, visit the Wikipedia page.
Barbershop is one type of a cappella singing.
The term can equally apply to video recording. During the mixing stage of a multitrack video, the video screen is typically split into sections (4, 6, 8, etc), each section showing one person singing one voice part (they can often be all the same person, resulting in an eerie effect). A good example is here.
Two articles on how to record a multitrack tag can be found on our Multitrack page.
World's Largest Library of Barbershop Tags
The BarbershopTags.com International Tag Competition
This site contains 4591 freely-downloadable Barbershop tags, with more being added every day. Many tags come complete with learning tracks, sheet music - even video clips of them being sung. Most of the tags are in the Barbershop style (male or female voicing), but there are also SATB and other a cappella tags available.
It's all FREE!
You can listen to the tags on the website, or download them to your own computer. Most importantly, anyone can upload a tag or a video! Every tag and video on this website was contributed by one of our members. If you know a good tag, become a member and then enter the details into our site. If you have the sheet music or feel like recording some learning tracks, even better!
If you know a good tag-related video on YouTube, you can easily attach it to a tag on our site. If you're one of those people who creates those excellent multitrack videos, become a member and add them all to our site - it only takes a few clicks for each one!
We encourage you to download all the tags you want, and give each one a rating out of 5 (you don't have to be a member to do so). If you notice some missing/incorrect information about a tag, it would be great it you could let us know (click on the Add Missing Details button on that tag's page).