Friday, July 25, 2008

Super Barbershop!

For most of you, it might be geeky enough merely to be a comic book fan.

Not I.

I'm also a barbershopper.

Oh, yes, though it doesn't come up here often, that's my hobby and what takes up most of my leisure time. My last vacation? A week in Nashville competing at the International Convention.

Kind of makes comic books seem tame, huh?

Anyway, I don't usually don't think of barbershop and comic books at the same time, because that confluence of geekiness is almost too powerful for me.


But someone asked me, so now I have to consider:

What part does/would these heroes sing?

Superman. Ah, Superman, the voice of the superhero community. Superman is a Lead. Not only do Leads sing the melody, they are often the visual focus. They, like Superman, are the one the audience looks to. They lead the other parts not directly, but by example. They don't intentional do anything to have the other parts follow them; the other parts simply fall in line with the Lead. Kind of like how Superman is within the superhero community. Besides what with superbreath, superventroliquism, and superhearing, Superman is definitely the master of his own voice, tone, and breathing.

But Clark Kent? Clark Kent is a baritone, obviously. Focused on fitting in, being invisible (and inaudible), varying what he's done to blend into his surroundings. Definitely a baritone.

Batman. Batman is (and no real surprise here) the reverse of Superman. Batman is a baritone: elusive, highly intelligent, focused on getting the job done, and making all the pieces fit, rather than on drawing attention to himself. He's content to stay in the shadows and is the most "professional" of all singers. Bruce Wayne is a Lead. Not a loud lead, but a Lead with a clear and pretty voice, and a suspiciously strong lower range.

Green Lantern. Oh my god. Lead, lead, lead. Vain, self-centered, over-confident, not particularly bright: a Lead, no question. Pays no attention to details, his fellow singers, or the composer's intentions. The kind of Lead who indulges in loud, long hangers, fueled by willpower. Hal's a Lead.

Flash. Either Wally or Barry, it's the same: Tenor. High, clear, reedy; sticks on a note with laser-like focus and zips along melismatically, making quick minute adjustments and making it look light and easy. Like any tenor, the Flash isn't about raw power, but technique in using his one niche ability to the fullest. The Flash is a Tenor.

Green Arrow. C'mon, you know this already. Loud. Bull-headed. Fancies himself a ladies' man, even though everyone is really paying attention to the Leads. Has only a few cadences that he hits again and again, and proud of it. Not bright enough to realize that he's not the star. Green Arrow is obviously a bass.

Hawkman. Reliable. Focused. Serves as a team backbone, whether it's JLA or JSA. Hawkman's a Bass.

Aquaman. Oh, he's one of those utility singers who's not the best at any one part, but can sing them all credibly. You know; the guy who teaches other guys how to sing tags. Can sing Lead, prefers to sing Bari, but usually winds up singing Bass or Tenor because everyone he hangs out with is already a Lead or a Bari. Singers like Aquaman are never in a winning quartet, but are always singing with somebody because they get along with everybody; they're just happy to be singing something.


Sea-of-Green said...

Wow, Barbershop! Mr. Sea loves Barbershop, too. He isn't singing at the momement, but he's a decent baritone. :-)

This is great! I'd LOVE to see a superhero Barbershop Quartet! All the main supergroups should each have a Barbershop Quartet and get together once a year for compeditions. ;-)

Sea-of-Green said...
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Derek said...

Sounds like Superman, Batman, Flash, and Hawkman would be a solid group.

But what would they sing?

Peter said...
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SallyP said...

You sing? Be still my heart. I'm a contralto, my son's a bass, and my daughter a soprano. We're looking for a tenor1

Lovely comparisons, by the way. My only quibble, is that I've always pictured Hal and Ollie as being tonedeaf. I don't really know why. But Guy is a great tenor. Kyle is a bit on the reedy side, and John Stewart is a bass. Plus he plays piano.

Anonymous said...

Offtopic, and maybe you know this already, but there is going to be a mass-produced action figure of Vibe.

Anonymous said...

Can they do that song that starts:

In the Blue Ridge Mountain of Virginia

On the trail of the lonesome pine.


Anonymous said...

I wonder what part Dr. Mid-Nite would sing?

Anonymous said...

Wonder Woman's comic book had a lot of singing in it, usually by the Holliday Girls: