The definition of the barbershop style begins with the song, which consists of the melody, the lyric, and the harmonies implied by the melody. The style is unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic texture. There are also other elements that make up the style.
Melody: The melody needs to be distinguishable from the harmony while clearly defining a tonal center. It should illustrate the inherent implied harmonies, and provide for embellishments. The range should be within the average singer's capability of performance and the rhythms should be natural and uncomplicated. Barbershop melodies feature balanced and symmetrical forms, and standard meters of 2, 3, 4, 6 beats per measure.