Nearly every group has its internal lexicon and Sweet Adelines and barbershop have plenty of phrases you will hear on the risers at rehearsal or in conversation between Sweet Adelines! Below we’ve listed some of the terms that will help you get familiar with the wonderful world of ringing chords!

A cappella  Choral music without instrumental accompaniment.  Cappella (Italian) chapel: a cappella in the manner of the chapel
Afterglow    Cast party after a show or performance
All-in-One A one-piece undergarment sometimes worn under our costumes (for torture and difficult trips to the restroom)
Break a Leg!   Said to wish someone well in performance.  Also:  Break a Lip!   Break a Lash!
Bubbling   Also called trilling,  a vocal exercise used to relax the lips, jaw, and throat, to open resonators, and to produce a resonant sound.
Chest Voice Singing using the lower range of the voice, this resonates primarily in the chest, although including the upper resonators.
Chord worship  Reveling in the sound of a ringing chord, usually to the detriment of forward motion and entertainment of the audience!
Chorus Breathing  Taking a quick breath in other than a planned breathing place so as not to run out of air at the end of the phrase.  Chorus breathing is done by leaving out a word or syllable, or breathing while holding the vowel of a word.  It is NOT done between words (which causes out-of-sync).  Also known as:  sneak breath.
Chorus Position  Downstage foot slightly in front of the other foot, facing the director
Cluster Chord  When more than four parts are being sung (someone singing a  wrong note)
Cone     Balance of barbershop sound
Coning       The art of adjusting to maintain the proper balance of a barbershop chord, with the broadest strength at the bottom of the chord and the lightest on the top.
Coronet Club    Association of all past International Champion Quartets
Diphthong      Two vowel sounds sung on one note, with greatest stress on   first vowel (A =Ay-ee, O = Oh-oo, I = Ah-ee)
Double Two parts on the same note, usually an octave apart (bass on low F, lead on F above middle C.)
Downstage      Toward the front of the stage
Dynamic Contrast      Planned volume changes to enhance performance of song
Embellishment     Swipe or other musical addition to song for added interest
Fanny Rails     Rails attached to top riser row (also known as sissy bars)
Forward Motion  Sense of lyrical flow, with vocal line moving toward
Hang Ten on the Risers Standing forward to the front edge of the riser (also called  toe-ing the risers).
Hard Palate     Firm part of the roof of the mouth
Head Voice   Singing using the upper range of voice register.
Inside Smile     Lifting of the soft palate
Interval      The distance between two notes
Intro        First part of a song (or the Edge).
Key  Letter name of the scale in which a song is written.  This note is  blown on the pitch pipe (tonic)
Lifted phrase ending  To have enough air at the end of the phrase to keep the tone fully supported and energized so as to not let the phrase just die out.
Lock and Ring  The ultimate barbershop sound.  To achieve it requires excellence in all phases of singing—a good musical arrangement, good vocal technique, well balanced and blended voices and accuracy of intonation.  In combination, these qualities can create an audible overtone that sends a chill up the spine of singers and listeners alike.
Mask     Facial muscles under the eyes into the temples, around the nose, in  the lip, and from the temples down to the chin
Mass Sing  A Sweet Adelines tradition.  This is a public event integrated into the business of a convention.  Everyone in attendance is invited to gather in a public place and present listeners with a sample of barbershop harmony.  It is often used as a way to thank the city hosting the gathering.
Octave  An interval of the 8th, with the lower and upper notes having the same letter name.
Off Paper Being able to sing your part without referring to the music.
Onion skins  The small tuning adjustments needed for locking the chord.  These are a laymen’s term for the degrees of tuning sound vibrations.
Overtone    Unsung tone heard above the highest tone of a properly balanced  and matched chord
Patter     Harmony parts singing different words while lead sings melody
Physical Warm-Ups      Warming up of body to provide a suitable environment for the singing mechanism to operate and to release tension which would interfere with vocal freedom.
Pickups  A note or series of notes leading into the first full chord of a phrase.
Pitch Pipe  Cookie-shaped musical instrument used to help singers begin in the same pitch; electronic pitch pipes also are used.  Also, The Pitch Pipe is the name of the magazine published by Sweet Adelines International.
 Progression A sequence of chords, using the Circle of Fifths.
Quartet Etiquette  Displaying courtesy by not singing along with a foursome  – unless you are asked.
Queens of  Harmony International champion quartet
Resonators Any of the cavities or parts of the vocal tract that serve to reinforce and enrich the phonated tones of the singing voice.
Ringing Chord  When a barbershop chord is balanced, overtones are produced and  an exciting “ringing” sound results
Ripple   Choreographed move that starts at one side of the chorus and travels to the other side (the same principle as a wave)
Soft Palate Soft, squishy area of your mouth near the back (behind the hard palate).
Stage Left     The performer’s left, when onstage facing the audience
Stage Right  The performer’s right, when onstage facing the audience
Stagger Breathing   In chorus singing, taking a quick breath in other than a planned  breathing place, usually within a word or by omitting a word. Also known as sneak breaths.
Swipe     A slide from one note to another, sung on one word or syllable,  which creates harmonic tension then resolution.
Tag  The final portion of a barbershop arrangement, usually containing very interesting chord progressions that are fun to sing.  Tags may be sung separately from the song and are often used both by quartets and choruses for the purpose of practicing to achieve complete chord excellence.  Many barbershoppers may not remember entire songs, but many will memorize hundreds of tags.
Take It From  The Edge  Start at the beginning of the music, or “take it from the top”
Tidley     Tiny swipe done by one part
Traffic Pattern  Designated and carefully timed path backstage followed by choruses and quartets on competition day
Tuning    Refers to the ability to sing both “in key” and “on pitch”
Upstage        Toward the back of the stage
Unison    Two or more voice parts singing the same note
Vibrato   A wavering in the vocal tone that keeps chords from locking and ringing.
Vocal Warm-Ups  Getting the voice ready to sing and our ears listening to each other.
Wood shedding  The art of singing barbershop “by ear,” without a written musical arrangement
(Adapted from Houston Horizon Chorus membership materials and  The Pitch Pipe)