Woodshedding Defined

Woodshedding is how our Society began: three individual voices (Tenor, Bari & Bass) harmonizing to a Lead's melody without reference to any written arrangement. An intensely pleasurable experience for the four singers involved, woodshedding is meant for their ears only rather than for general audiences'. Of course, anyone wishing to become more adept at the art of woodshedding is welcome to listen.

As the idea of woodshedding is to ring chords rather than "sing songs," the best "woodshed" melodies strongly imply many Barbershop-7th chords and are readily harmonized by those with a fair sense of our style's chord progressions and the production of overtones. There are so many existing and undiscovered "woodsheddable" melodies that we will always have a great variety of material to enjoy! Also, woodshedders are free to pitch songs where the singing is comfortable.

Woodshedding ISN'T done by more than four singers at a time, except during a group-learning process or when a novice needs to hear Barbershop chords; woodshedding ISN'T "faking" a fourth part along with three singers who are replicating an existing written Barbershop arrangement; and woodshedding ISN'T singing Polecat songs, tags, or other music that is highly stylized.

WOODSHEDDING IN PROGRESS -- four-part AHSOW members Grady Kerr, Mark Hotchkiss, Jim Morris, and Toban Dvoretzky harmonize by ear to one of the many melodies woodshedded at the Southwestern District Fall Convention in Little Rock, Ark., on October 26, 2002. Hotchkiss and Morris qualified for AHSOW at this convention, where the AHSOW room ran until 5:30 a.m. Photo by AHSOW member Ken Ackley.
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