12 Facts About A cappella


The term a cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato musical styles.

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Gregorian chant is an example of a cappella singing, as is the majority of secular vocal music from the Renaissance.

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Polyphony of Christian a cappella music began to develop in Europe around the late 15th century AD, with compositions by Josquin des Prez.

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An a cappella tradition was begun in 1911 by F Melius Christiansen, a music faculty member at St Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

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Contemporary A Cappella Society is a membership option for former students, whose funds support hosted competitions and events.

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In 1983, an a cappella group known as The Flying Pickets had a Christmas 'number one' in the UK with a cover of Yazoo's "Only You".

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European a cappella tradition is especially strong in the countries around the Baltic and perhaps most so in Sweden as described by Richard Sparks in his doctoral thesis The Swedish Choral Miracle in 2000.

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All-women a cappella groups followed shortly, frequently as a parody of the men's groups: the Smiffenpoofs of Smith College, the Night Owls of Vassar College, The Shwiffs of Connecticut College, and The Chattertocks of Brown University .

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Groups often join one another in on-campus concerts, such as the Georgetown Chimes' Cherry Tree Massacre, a 3-weekend a cappella festival held each February since 1975, where over a hundred collegiate groups have appeared, as well as International Quartet Champions The Boston Common and the contemporary commercial a cappella group Rockapella.

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The first South Asian a cappella group was Penn Masala, founded in 1996 at the University of Pennsylvania.

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The first co-ed South Asian a cappella was Anokha, from the University of Maryland, formed in 2001.

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Beatboxing, more accurately known as vocal percussion, is a technique used in a cappella music popularized by the hip-hop community, where rap is often performed a cappella.

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