A cappella
 
A cappella music is vocal music or singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. A cappella is Italian for like in the chapel (music); the term is due to the fact that Christian churches sang without instrumental accompaniment for the first several hundred years of its existence. It is often misspelled as a capella, which is derived from the Latin spelling (but in Latin capella means small goat), or even acappella.


Modern A cappella


In the modern parlance, the term applies to vocal performers who refrain from performing with any instrumental accompaniment, though some emulate the sonority of instruments with their voices and microphone effects. The King's Singers are credited with promoting interest in a cappella performance in the 1960s. A cappella music attained renewed prominence from the late 1980s onward, spurred by the success of songs by recording artists such as Petra Haden The Manhattan Transfer, The Bobs, Bobby McFerrin, Take 6, The Nylons, Tonic Sol-fa, Rockapella, Huey Lewis And The News, Todd Rundgren, The Real Group, Zap Mama, and Boyz II Men. This prominence in turn led to a resurgence in collegiate a cappella—some larger universities now have a dozen groups or more. The oldest collegiate a cappella group are The Whiffenpoofs of Yale University, among whose original members in 1909 was Cole Porter. Major movements in modern a cappella include Barbershop, doo wop, and contemporary a cappella. Contemporary a cappella includes many vocal bands who add vocal percussion or beatboxing to create a pop/rock sound. There also remains a strong a cappella presence within Christian music. Arrangements of popular music for small a cappella ensembles typically include one voice singing the lead melody, one singing a rhythmic bass line, and the remaining voices contributing chordal or polyphonic accompaniment. A cappella can also describe the practice of using just the vocal track(s) from a multitrack recording to be remixed or put onto vinyl records for DJs. Artists sometimes release the vocal tracks of their popular songs so that fans can remix them.

Emulating Instrumentation

People do not just always sing the words when singing a cappella; some also emulate instrumentation by reproducing the melody with their vocal chords. For instance, "Twilight Zone" by 2 Unlimited was sung a cappella to the instrumentation on the comedy television series Thompkins Square. Another famous example of emulating instrumentation instead of singing the words is the theme song for The New Addams Family series on Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family). Groups such as Vocal Sampling and Undivided emulate Latin rhythms a cappella. Vocal artist Bobby McFerrin is famous for his instrumental emulation.