As a former band lead vocalist, I can say without any reservation that establishing a singing group or a band is difficult. It is like trying to put together different types of personalities, and your only commonality is that you love music. You often need to engage in trial and error, trying to find the right mix of band members. Unable to find the right mix, you may find yourself in the losing end, unable to build a solid band that can work together in sickness and in health.
Yet, if you find the right band members and you all jive well together, you can be in your way to stardom. John Lennon and Paul McCartney, for example, jived well in the early years of Beatles. Hence, they became the most prolific composers of all time. George, on the other hand, was a laidback lead guitarist before, and Ringo was a replacement that clicked well with them. Hence, the Beatles became the most popular band of all time.
Bands, of course, are not the only singing groups. There are different types of singing groups ranging from a group of three to more than a hundred members. So, if you want to learn these different types, you can further read on.
Types of Singing Groups That You Can Find In Music Industry
There are different types of singing groups. You will see rock bands and pop bands, boy bands, doo-wop, etc. Yet, if you are interested in learning these different types of singing groups, you can check out the following different types of singing groups:
1) Rock Band
As a small musical group, a pop or rock band performs pop or rock music. It may consist of four members or more. Yet, the typical rock band consists of four members, namely, rhythm and lead guitarist, drummer, and bassist. One or two of these four members may be the lead vocals.
Examples of four-piece bands include the Beatles, Metallica, and KISS. There are also rock bands that have a lead singer that does not play any instrument. Bands like this include The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Monkees, and many more.
A rock band may also consist of three members (trio format). In hard-rock bands and heavy metal groups, you will often see this set up called “power trio.” The power trio usually consists of a bass guitarist, an electric guitarist, and a drummer. One or two of the power trio sometimes sing or act as the lead vocalist. Sometimes, all of them sing altogether, just like those of Alkaline Trio and the Bee Gees. Other trio bands include those of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Double Trouble, The Jam, Nirvana, and Green Day.
The end of the 20th century has been characterized by the dominance of popular music. Rock and popular music started, of course, in the 1950s and soon became globally popular. Its commercial importance as a music genre is best reflected in the huge multinational recording industry and the increasing sales of international records. Hence, it is obvious why rock and popular bands have gained huge followings and popularity throughout the world.
Another type of singing group is Doo-wop. Its origin can be traced back to the 1940s. It started as singing groups in the huge cities of the U.S.; it is of rhythm and blues genre. It is also characterized by great harmony that is good to listen to and an enthralling melodic line. Moreover, this melodic line comes with an uncomplicated beat without or with minimal accompaniment.
The lyrics more often tackle love that the lead vocal sings with background vocals who repeat nonsense syllables. The bridge often carries melodramatic and heartfelt repetitive lines that are directed to the object of love. This type of singing group gained much popularity during the 1950s and had its peak popularity in the first half of the 60s.
Doo-wop belongs to the rhythm and blues genre of music. The style of music of Doo-wop is characterized by a combination of orchestration. It also comes with a patented chord progression and a vocal type popular in the 1930s up to 1940s.
Composers of Doo-wop music made use of a distinct chord progression in their hit songs. This chord progression was so popular and influential during the 50s and had been tagged as the 50s chord progression.
3) Boy Band
Another type of singing group is the boy band. This group consists of young male singers who sing love songs that are marketed for young female fans. The band members usually sing and dance in a choreographed manner.
Some boybands were formed on their own. Their members may come from choral groups or may have been pulled together by a talent manager. They may be a product of auditions likewise. Because of the commercial orientation of boybands, the term boy band have been looked upon with negative connotation by some rock band enthusiasts. The term “boyband” may also carry a negative meaning when used in music journalism.
The forerunner of boybands can be traced back to the 19th century. These forerunners were the barbershop quartets consisting of male groups who sang a cappella their pieces in four-part harmonies. However, the earliest vestiges of modern-day boy bands could be traced back to the 1950s. During that time, the term “boy band” was not yet used then. The pioneering band— the Ink Spots—could very well be the very first boy band. Moreover, the term “boy band” has not been used until the late 1980s.
The Beatles, of course, is said to be a boy band by some journalists. The Monkees likewise had been called a “boy band.” Other antecedent pop groups that may be considered as boy bands as we know it now are those of Menudo, New Kids on the Block, and New Edition.
The 1990s, of course, were the heyday of boy bands as we know it. Boy bands like Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys, Take That, NSYNC, and Westlife had gained enormous followings during that decade. Moreover, these boy bands gained success domestically and internationally.
4) Girl Group
The counterpart of the boyband is the girl group. It features a music act that includes several female singers who sing harmoniously together. In the United States, female pop singing groups are often called “girl groups.” This type of singing group is mostly influenced by the doo-wop of the 60s. The girl group, of course, is different from the girl bands who play instruments.
Girl groups are popular around the world, especially after the onset of radio broadcasting and the enhancement of the music industry. One such popular group is the Andrew Sisters. All-female singing groups became a major force in the music industry with more than 700 girl groups that released songs in the U.K., and the U.S. One of the most popular of this type of group is the Supremes that had 12 number one singles that reached the Billboard Hot 100.
In the later decades of the 20th century, girl groups were associated with R&B, disco, and country-based formats. There were pop girl groups. At present, many girl groups are still making waves across the globe led by girl groups from the U.K., U.S., Japan, South Korea.
5) Choir or Chorus
A choir, of course, is so familiar, especially if you often attend a church gathering. It is also referred to as “chorale.” It is a musical ensemble consisting of singers who sing musical pieces designed for such ensemble.
Choirs are good to listen to because they usually consist of different voices. They may have classical music repertoire, which may range from the classical music of the past to modern musical arrangement. A conductor usually leads a choir in its performance.
The choir often refers to a group of singers who perform in the church. The chorus, on the other hand, refers to the group of singers who perform in concert halls or theatres. Yet, this is not a rigid distinction. Another thing is that choirs can sing a cappella or with accompaniment. It can also sing, backed up by a full orchestra.
6) A Cappella Groups
A cappella refers to a group of singers that sing without accompaniment. Many a cappella groups are usually found in education institutions. A cappella groups can be professionals or amateurs likewise. The good thing about a cappella groups is that they are good to listen to.
A cappella groups can sing as if they have accompaniment. Some groups, for example, make use of their voices to mimic the sound of instruments. Others, however, focus only on harmonizing different voices. The range of a cappella groups is from gospel music groups to barbershop quartets as well as choruses.
There is a resurgence of a cappella music in the late 2000s. Several T.V. series has popularized a cappella music. These T.V. shows included the Pitch Perfect and Sing-Off. A cappella music originated in religious music. Gregorian chant, for example, is a perfect example of this kind of singing.
7) Co-ed Group
Another type of singing group is the Coed Group. The Coed group, of course, consists of mixed gender members. It includes both male and female singers. This group is usually made of teenage members.
Commercially, coed groups are hard to market, according to some music industry experts. Unlike boybands or girl groups, the coed group does not have a specific audience to cater to and may not appeal to the fans. Yet, there will always be fans of coed groups, especially if they have good songs to market.
8) Gospel Music Group
The Gospel Music Group consists of a group of singers that can render a soulful spiritual sound that can be appreciated by both religious and secular fans. Gospel music, of course, belongs to the oldest forms of music. Its origin can be traced back to the 17th century. In the past, gospel singers usually did not sing with accompaniment. Black gospel music, for example, traditionally sang with the accompaniment of human clapping and stomping of feet.
At present, gospel singing groups also feature similar strong harmonies. Yet, they are also accompanied by instruments like tambourines or organs. Sometimes, they are accompanied too by electric guitars. Since the 1920s, gospel singers have become very popular, especially in Christian communities. At present, likewise, gospel music groups are as popular as Christian rock bands.
The gospel music groups are perfect for religious gatherings, churches, women’s groups, men’s groups, and youth groups. Moreover, they can help drive the gospel message home.
Gospel music genres, of course, is a separate and distinct music genre. This type of group singers consists of Southern gospel singers, traditional black gospel, urban contemporary gospel groups, progressive Southern gospel, Christian country music group, and even British black gospel group.
Singing groups come in different types. Some of them come in trio while some may number several dozens. Yet, whether they are in a trio or many, singing groups are always good to watch and listen to. The vocal harmonies and cohesion they produce make them pleasurable to listen to and watch perform. It is not easy to build a singing group. It requires dedication and cohesion to produce good music together. Yet, once the members jive together, they can produce a cohesive and harmonious sound that would surely be appreciated by their listeners.