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A cappella (ItalianWilliam C. Holmes. "A cappella." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 21 Sep. 2008 />. for From the chapel/choir) music is vocal music or singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato style. In the 19th century a renewed interest in Renaissance polyphony coupled with an ignorance of the fact that vocal parts were often doubled by instrumentalists led to the term coming to mean unaccompanied vocal music. In modern usage, a cappella often refers to an all-vocal performance of any style, including barbershop, doo wop, and modern pop/rock. Today, a cappella also includes sample/loop "vocal only" productions by producers like Jimmy Spice Curry, Teddy Riley, Wyclef, and others.

Religious traditions

A cappella music originally was, and still often is, used in religious music, especially church music as well as anasheed and zemirot. Gregorian chant is an example of a cappella singing, as is the majority of sacred vocal music from the Renaissance. The madrigal, up until its development in the early Baroque into an instrumentally-accompanied form, is also usually in a cappella form. The original music in Judaism and then in early Christianity was a cappella and has continuously existed in both of these related religious communities as well as in Islam.


The polyphony of Christian a cappella music began to develop in Europe around the late 1400s. The early a cappella polyphonies may have had an accompanying instrument, although this instrument would merely double the singers' parts and was not independent. By the 1500s, a cappella polyphony had further developed, but gradually, the cantata began to take a cappella's place.[ "a cappella"]. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 2, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online 16th century a cappella polyphony, nonetheless, continued to influence church composers throughout this period and to the present day. Such is seen in the life of [[Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina|Palestrina]] becoming a major influence on [[Johann Sebastian Bach|Bach]], most notably in the aforementioned ''[[Mass in B Minor]]''. ====Opposition to instruments in worship==== Present-day Christian religious bodies known for conducting their worship services without musical accompaniment include some [[Presbyterian]] churches devoted to the [[regulative principle of worship]], [[Old Regular Baptist]]s, [[Primitive Baptist]]s, [[Plymouth Brethren]], [[Churches of Christ]], the [[Old German Baptist Brethren]], the [[Eastern Orthodox Church|Eastern Orthodox]] Christian Church and the [[Amish]] and [[Mennonite]]. Certain [[high church]] masses and other musical events in liturgical churches (such as [[Roman Catholic]] and [[Lutheran]]) may be a cappella, a practice remaining from apostolic times. Many [[Mennonite]]s also conduct some or all of their services without instruments. [[Sacred Harp]], a type of religious [[folk music]], is an a cappella style of religious singing, but is more often sung at singing conventions than at church services. Opponents of musical instruments in the Christian [[Christian worship|worship]] believe that they are supported by the New Testament and Church history. The New Testament verses typically referenced are [;%20Acts%2016:25;%20Romans%2015:9;%201%20Corinthians%2014:15;%20Ephesians%205:19;%20Colossians%203:16;%20Hebrews%202:12,%2013:15;%20James%205:13;&version=49; Matthew 26:30; Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12, 13:15; James 5:13], which reveal a command for all Christians to sing.See, ''e.g.'', Marshall C. Kurfees, ''Instrumental music in the worship or the Greek verb '''psallo''' philologically and historically examined together with a full discussion of kindred matters relating to music in Christian worship'' (Nashville: McQuiddy, 1911). Further study reveals that in the New Testament, when God was worshiped in song, it was performed “a cappella” regardless of the day or setting. Paul singing praises to God in jail (Acts 16:25) and Christians singing when they are happy (James 5:13) are two examples. [,26;&version=49; 1 Cor. 14:15, 26] discusses the worship service of Corinth and textually uses the words ''speak and sing'' in ways that cannot include instruments.Dr. John L. Girardeau, Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church (PuritanReprints, 2006),p91 or see another edition of the same book Dr. John LaFayette. Girardeau, Instrumental Music in Church Worship (Crown Rights Book Company, 2005), p118. There is no reference to instrumental music in the worship of the New Testament or the worship of the church for the first six centuries.McKinnon (1965), The Church Fathers and Musical Instruments (Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University). p. 263, 265. See also, James D. Bales, ''Instrumental Music & New Testament Worship'' (Searcy, AR: Truth for Today World Mision School, 1973)p.351. That being said, the reason for such absence is highly debated, though several reasons have been put forth throughout church history. The absence of instrumental music is rooted in various hermeneutic principles restricting the appropriateness of worship. Such views are the [[regulative principle of worship]], [[Sola scriptura]], the history of [[hymn]] in Christianity. The Hebrew writer spent a great deal of time contrasting Old Testament and New Testament worship, which brings forth a theological understanding. In short, all of the Old Testament and its practices have been replaced by New Testament and teachings of Jesus. The absence of instrumental music in New Testament worship is significant given the abundance of Old Testament references and commands. After several hundred years of Tabernacle worship without instrumental music, King David introduced musical instruments into Temple worship based upon a commandment from God. God commanded who was to sing, who was to play, and what instruments were to be used, as seen in [;&version=49; 2 Chronicles 29:25–29]. Unlike the Israelite worship assembly, which was only able to look on during Temple worship as the Levitical Priest sang, played, and offered animal sacrifices, in the New Testament, all Christians are commanded to sing praises to God. This leaves those opposed to instrumental music in worship with the understanding that if God wanted instrumental music in New Testament worship, he would have commanded not just singing, but singing and playing like he did in the Old Testament. Though God commanded instruments to be used in Temple worship, and the daily life of Israel, the first recorded example of a musical instrument in Christian worship was an [[Pipe organ|organ]] introduced by [[Pope Vitalian]] into a cathedral in Rome around 670.American Encyclopedia, Volume 12, p. 688 McKinnon maintained that the organ was the first instrument to be introduced into worship service and the next was the trumpet. He noted accounts of an organ being sent from Byzantium to Pippin in 757, and another to Charlemagne in 812. See ''McKinnon (1965), The Church Fathers and Musical Instruments (Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University) p265'' Thus, over time, the expression ''a cappella'' (Latin for "from/like the chapel") came to mean exclusively vocal music in contradistinction to the spreading use of the organ in cathedrals. Unfortunately, instruments have divided [[Christendom]] since their introduction into [[Christian worship|worship]]. They were considered a Catholic innovation, not widely practiced until the 18th century, and were opposed vigorously in worship by the majority of [[Protestant Reformers]], including [[Martin Luther]] (1483–1546),Martin Luther, Mcclintock & Strong's Encyclopedia Volume VI, page 762 [[John Calvin]] (1509–1564),John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms 33 [[John Wesley]] (1703–1791),Adam Clarke, Clark's Commentary vol. IV, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, n.d.), p. 684 and [[Alexander Campbell (clergyman)|Alexander Campbell]] (1788–1866).Campbell referred to the use of an instrument in Christian worship "a cow bell in a concert" (p. 414 in Everett Ferguson, "Instrumental Music", in ''The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement'', ed. Douglas A. Foster, Paul M. Blowers, Anthony L. Dunnavant, & D. Newell Williams [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004], ISBN 0-8028-3898-7; Ferguson's entire article is on pp. 414–417). The fact that Christendom has periodically grafted instrumental music into the worship service probably obscures, for contemporary adherents, the long, general and conscientious teaching of a cappella. In Sir Walter Scott's ''[[The Heart of Midlothian]]'', for example, the heroine, Jeanie Deans, a Scottish Presbyterian, writes to her father about the church situation she has found in England (bold added): :The folk here are civil, and, like the barbarians unto the holy apostle, have shown me much kindness; and there are a sort of chosen people in the land, for they have some '''[[kirk]]s without organs that are like ours''', and are called meeting-houses, where the minister preaches without a gown.{{cite web |url= |title=The Heart of Mid-Lothian |author=Walter Scott |authorlink=Walter Scott |date=October 23, 2006 | |publisher=[[Project Gutenberg]] |accessdate=November 7, 2009 }} ====Acceptance of instruments in worship==== An alternate viewpoint is that limiting praise to the unaccompanied chant of the early church is not commanded in scripture, and that the church in any age has been free to offer its songs with or without musical instruments: New Testament vocabulary of Christian praise is inclusive of instruments. * New Testament translators “fully intended to include and not exclude musical accompaniment” in rendering English translations. Luther Weigle, chairman of the committee that gave us the Revised Standard Version, in a letter dated May 7, 1962, as found in Tom Burgess, ''Documents on Instrumental Music'' (College Press, 1966), p. 91, but see the consistent responses from scholars of numerous translations. * The Greek word “''psallo''” (typically translated “sing” or “make music”) was used in the first century for (1) sing with or without instruments or (2) play an instrument.Frederick William Danker, editor, ''A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature'', third edition (based on Walter Bauer's sixth edition), (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 1096. Ferguson notes that a pattern had evolved leading into the first century where Greek-speaking Jews writing to Gentiles always used the word for playing an instrument. He gives the Jewish historian Josephus as first-century instrumental example.Everett Ferguson, ''A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church'' (Revised Edition), Abilene, TX: Biblical Research Press, 1972, p. 11 Since the primary meaning of psallo in the first century was to “sing with or without instruments,” it is often abbreviated in English translations as “sing,” though some (e.g.: Amplified Bible, Moffatt's Translation) make the acceptance of instruments clearer. * Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 invite Christians to sing “psalms,” a noun defined by numerous first century lexicons as a song sung with musical accompaniment.e.g.: James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (London: Hodder and Stroughton, Linited, 1930), p.697. Since the New Testament never counters this instrumental language with any negative judgment on instruments,Frederick William Danker, editor, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, third edition (based on Walter Bauer's sixth edition), (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 1096. opposition to instruments instead comes from an interpretation of history. It is striking that there is no written opposition to musical instruments in any setting in the first century and a half of the church (including scripture).James McKinnon, ''Music in Early Christian Literature'' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 2. Toward the end of the second century, however, Christians began condemning the actual instruments themselves.James McKinnon, ''The Temple, the Church Fathers, and Early Western Chant'' (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 1988), IV, p.72. Those who oppose instruments today believe that emerging opposition of these Church Fathers demonstrates a better understanding of God's desire, but there are significant differences between the teachings of the Church Fathers and Christian opposition to instruments today. * Modern Christians typically believe it is acceptable to play instruments or to attend weddings, funerals, banquets, etc., where instruments are heard. The Church Fathers made no exceptions.McKinnon, ''TCFEWC,'' IV, p.72. Since the New Testament never condemns instruments themselves, much less in any of these settings, it is conceded that “the church Fathers go beyond the New Testament in pronouncing a negative judgment on musical instruments.”Ferguson, p. 74. * Written opposition to instruments in worship began near the turn of the 5th century.Ferguson, pp. 52, 53. Modern opponents of instruments do not make the same assessment of instruments as these writers,Rather than calling the use of instruments “evil,” modern opposition uses terms like “unspiritual” (Ferguson, p 88.) or an Old Testament “shadow” (Jack Lewis, Everett Ferguson and Earl West, ''The Instrumental Music Issue'', Nashville, TN: The Gospel Advocate Co., 1987, p. 109). who argued that God had allowed David the “evil” of using musical instruments in praise.McKinnon, ''MECL,'' p. 7. Contrary to their teaching, the Old Testament scripture shows that God specifically asked for instruments rather than merely tolerating an evil.2 Chronicles 29:25 Since “a cappella” singing brought harmony (people singing the same words on different pitches for the first time in history) with instrumental accompaniment, it is not surprising that Protestant reformers who opposed the instruments (such as Calvin and Zwingli) also opposed the harmony.Weiss, Piero and Richard Taruskin, ''Music in the Western World'' (New York: Shirmer Books, 1984), p.107. While Zwingli was burning organs in Switzerland – Luther called him a fanatic – the Church of England was burning books of harmony.Weiss, p.109. ===Jewish=== While services in the [[Temple in Jerusalem]] included musical instruments (2 Chronicles 29:25-27), traditional [[Judaism|Jewish]] religious services in the Synagogue, both before and after the destruction of the Temple, did not include musical instruments.John Price, ''Old Light on New Worship: Musical Instruments and The Worship of God, A Theological, Historical, and Psychological Study'' (Avinger, Texas: Simpson Publishing Company, 2005),p.68. The use of musical instruments is traditionally forbidden on the Sabbath out of concern that players would be tempted to repair their instruments, which is forbidden on those days. (This prohibition has been relaxed in many Reform and some Conservative congregations.) Similarly, when Jewish families and larger groups sing traditional Sabbath songs known as [[zemerot]] outside the context of formal religious services, they usually do so a cappella, and Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations on the Sabbath sometimes feature entertainment by a cappella ensembles. During [[the Three Weeks]] use of musical instruments is traditionally prohibited. Many Jews consider a portion of the 49-day period of the [[Counting of the Omer|counting of the omer]] between Passover and Shavuot to be a time of semi-mourning and instrumental music is not allowed during that time.{{Cite web |url= |title=Mourning Customs During the Omer |accessdate=3 January 2009 |last=Melamed |first=Rabbi Eliezer | |publisher=Bet El Yeshiva Center }} This has led to a tradition of a cappella singing sometimes known as ''sefirah'' music. [ Shircago, ''Jewish A Cappella and Sefirat Omer'']. The popularization of the Jewish chant may be found in the writings of the Jewish philosopher [[Philo]], born 20 BCE. Weaving together Jewish and Greek thought, Philo promoted praise without instruments, and taught that "silent singing" (without even vocal chords) was better still.Everett Ferguson, ''A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church'' (Revised Edition), Abilene, Texas: Biblical Research Press, 1972, pp. 39-41. So strong was his influence that the Jewish sect of the Pharisees even came to oppose the temple instruments.E. Werner, "Music", ''Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible'' (Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1984), pp. 466, 468. This view parted with the Jewish scriptures, where Israel offered praise with instruments by God's own command (e.g.: 2 Chronicles 29:25). The [[shofar]] or keren (horn) is the only temple instrument still being used today in the synagogue,Lee G. Olson, "Music and Musical Instruments of the Bible", ''Zondervan Pictoral Bible Dictionary'', [[Merrill C. Tenney]], Editor (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967), p. 562. and it is only used from [[Rosh Chodesh]] [[Elul]] through the end of [[Yom Kippur]]. The shofar is used by itself, without any vocal accompaniment, and is limited to a very strictly defined set of sounds and specific places in the synagogue service.{{citation needed|date=January 2009}} ===Muslim=== Many [[Muslim]] musicians also perform a form of a cappella music called ''[[nasheed]]''. ==A cappella in the United States== Peter Christian Lutkin, Dean of the Northwestern University School of Music, helped popularize a cappella music in the United States by founding the Northwestern A Cappella Choir in 1906. The A Cappella Choir was "the first permanent organization of its kind in America."Northwestern University, Guide to the Peter Christian Lutkin Papers, ''Biography'', Van Camp, The Formation of A Cappella Choirs at Northwestern University, St. Olaf College, and Westminster College, Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Winter, 1965), pp. 227-238. A strong and prominent a cappella tradition was begun in the midwest part of the United States in 1911 by F. Melius Christiansen, a music faculty member at [[St. Olaf College]] in Northfield, Minnesota. The St. Olaf College Choir was established as an outgrowth of the local St. John's Lutheran Church, where Christiansen was organist and the choir was composed at least partially of students from the nearby St. Olaf campus. The success of the ensemble was emulated by other regional conductors, and a rich tradition of a cappella choral music was born in the region at colleges like [[Concordia College]] (Moorhead, Minnesota), [[Augustana College]] (Rock Island, Illinois), [[Wartburg College]] (Waverly, Iowa), [[Luther College]] (Decorah, Iowa), [[Gustavus Adolphus College]] (St. Peter, Minnesota), [[Augustana College]] (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), and [[Augsburg College]] (Minneapolis, Minnesota). The choirs typically range from 40 to 80 singers and are recognized for their efforts to perfect blend, intonation, phrasing and pitch in a large choral setting. Major movements in modern a cappella over the past century include [[Barbershop music|Barbershop]] and [[doo wop]]. The [[Barbershop Harmony Society]], [[Sweet Adelines International]], and Harmony Inc. host educational events including Harmony University, Directors University, and the International Educational Symposium, and international contests and conventions, recognizing international champion [[List of chorus champions by year|choruses]] and [[List of quartet champions by year|quartets]]. In the 1950s several recording groups, notably [[The Hi-Los]] and the [[Four Freshmen]], introduced complex jazz harmonies to a cappella performances. The [[King's Singers]] are credited with promoting interest in small-group a cappella performances in the 1960s. In 1983 an a cappella group known as [[The Flying Pickets]] had a Christmas 'number one' in the UK with a cover of [[Yazoo (band)|Yazoo]]'s (known in the US as [[Yaz]]) [[Only You (Yazoo song)|Only You]]. A cappella music attained renewed prominence from the late 1980s onward, spurred by the success of Top 40 recordings by artists such as [[The Manhattan Transfer]], but it was [[The Persuasions]] who saved the dying art and opened the door for such artists as [[Bobby McFerrin]], [[Huey Lewis and the News]], [[All 4 One]], [[The Nylons]] and [[Boyz II Men]].{{citation needed|date=March 2008}} In 2005, [[Bo Bice]] performed an a cappella version of "In A Dream" by [[Badlands (American band)|Badlands]] when he was one of three contestants remaining on season 4 of [[American Idol]]. The show's producers warned him that it was a risky move, but his performance got great reviews from the judges and Bice advanced to the finals.{{cite web |url = |title = Bo Bice Interview |accessdate = 2008-10-30 |publisher = [[Songfacts]] }} ===Recording artists=== The first a cappella records in rock and roll/pop culture were by The Nutmegs, they were acappella practice tapes (demos) that were issued on the Times Square Record label around 1961. These records started a trend in the NYC and TRI-STATE area surrounding "no music" rock and roll group records. This phenomena, the start of the "acappella era", was created with the advent of Times Square Records and the 'unique recordings' by the Nutmegs. Several small labels like Mellomood, Catamount, Relic, Snowlflake, Amber, and many others issued street corner groups performing acappella songs on 45's, featured albums or album compilations by various vocal groups who performed street corner harmony. Slim Rose, the owner of Times Square Records in the 60's is responsible for coining the term "acappella" by looking up the formal work 'a cappella' in the dictionary. The groups that made these records were mostly amateur street corner groups who had at best, some talent. Today or since 1971, we refer to these type of acappella groups singing a style of music called "doowop". A music style created in 1950s. People have been singing acappella in different styles long before rock and roll, but it is these type of groups and the labels who spawned this sound onto rock and roll/pop culture that has carried over into a world wide genre of music spreading out and becoming very popular performing and recording acappella music in a wide variety of music genres. Contemporary a cappella includes many vocal bands who add [[vocal percussion]] or [[beatboxing]] to create a pop/rock sound, in some cases very similar to bands with instruments. One such group is [[Rockapella]]. There also remains a strong a cappella presence within Christian music, as some denominations purposefully do not use instruments during worship. Examples of such groups are [[Take 6]] and [[Acappella (group)|Acappella]]. 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 [[Polyphony|polyphonic]] accompaniment. A cappella can also describe the practice of using just the vocal track(s) from a [[multitrack]], instrumental recording to be [[remix]]ed or put onto vinyl records for DJs. Artists sometimes release the vocal tracks of their popular songs so that fans can remix them. One such example is the a cappella release of [[Jay-Z]]'s ''[[The Black Album (Jay-Z album)|Black Album]]'', which [[Danger Mouse]] mixed with [[The Beatles]]' [[The White Album|White Album]] to create ''[[The Grey Album]]''. A cappella's growth is not limited to live performance, with hundreds of recorded a cappella albums produced over the past decade. As of December 2006, the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) had reviewed over 660 a cappella albums since 1994, and its popular discussion forum had over 900 users and 19,000 articles. The first a cappella song ever to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 was Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry, Be Happy.

Barbershop style

Barbershop music is one of the few uniquely American art forms. The earliest reports of this style of a cappella music involved African Americans. The earliest documented quartets all began in barbershops. In 1938, the first formal organization was formed, known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A), and in 2004 rebranded itself and officially changed its public name to the Barbershop Harmony Societymarker (BHS). Today the BHS has over 30,000 members in 800 chapters across the United States, and the barbershop style has spread around the world with organizations in many other countries. The Barbershop Harmony Society provides a highly organized competition structure for a cappella quartets and choruses singing in the barbershop style.

Collegiate a cappella

It is not clear exactly where collegiate a cappella began. The Rensselyrics of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutemarker (formerly known as the RPI Glee Club), established in 1873 is perhaps the oldest known collegiate a cappella group. However the longest continuously-singing group is probably The Whiffenpoofs of Yale Universitymarker, which was formed in 1909 and once included Cole Porter as a member. Collegiate a cappella groups grew throughout the twentieth century. Some renowned, notable historical groups formed along the way include Cornell University's Cayuga's Waiters (1949), the Columbia Kingsmen (1949) and the University of Rochester YellowJackets (1956). Women's a cappella groups followed shortly, frequently as a parody of the men's groups: the Smiffenpoofs of Smith Collegemarker (1936),The Shwiffs of Connecticut College (The She-Whiffenpoofs, 1944), and The Chattertocks of Brown University (1951). The numbers of these groups exploded beginning in the 1990s, fueled in part by a change in style popularized by the Beelzebubs of Tufts University. The new style used voices to emulate modern rock instruments, including vocal percussion/"beatboxing." Some larger universities now have a dozen groups or more and the total number of college groups grew from 250 circa 1990 to over 1,000 now. The groups often join one another in on-campus concerts, such as the Georgetown Chimes' Cherry Tree Massacre, a 3-weekend a cappella festival held each February since 1975, where over a hundred collegiate groups have appeared, as well as International Quartet Champions The Boston Common and the contemporary commercial a cappella group Rockapella. Co-ed groups have produced many up-and-coming artists including solo musician John Legend, an alumnus of the Counterparts at the University of Pennsylvaniamarker, and Siddhartha Khosla, lead singer of the band Goldspot, an alumnus of both Off the Beat and Penn Masala at the University of Pennsylvaniamarker.

A cappella is gaining popularity among South Asian youth with the emergence of primarily Hindi-English College groups. Examples of prominent groups include Penn Masala in the University of Pennsylvania, Chai-Town from the University of Illinois, Dil Se from UC Berkeley, Swaram from Texas A&M University, and Raagapella in Stanford. All-female groups are less common, but still exist. Examples of all-female groups are Illini Chandani, from the University of Illinois, Awaaz, from Wellesley College and Kal Ki Awaaz from UC Berkeley. Ektaal, founded in 1999 within the University of Virginia, recently went co-ed in 2006, but prior to that, was an all-female group. While up and coming all-male groups are becoming a rarity among Desi a cappella groups, Carnegie Mellon Universitymarker's Deewane (started in 2007) is hoping to reverse that trend. Co-ed South Asian a cappella groups are also gaining popularity like Northwestern Universitymarker's Brown Sugar, Case Western's Dhamakapella, Johns Hopkins Kranti, University of Maryland Anokha, Drexel Shor, UCSD Sur Taal, GWU Geet, UCLA Naya Zamaana, Michigan's Maize Mirchi, Rutgers R.A.A.G. and USC Asli Baat. These groups have attained significant critical acclaim with their distinct style of mixing songs and applying a cappella to styles of different cultures. Penn Masala has songs in Hindi, Arabic, English, Punjabi and Gujarati, with lyrics from different languages in the same song. Currently there are few South Asian a cappella competitions in the nation. Gathe Raho, the largest South Asian a cappella competition in the midwest, as well as the nation, takes place annually at the University of Iowamarker in Iowa Citymarker. Gathe Raho has featured many top level teams throughout the nation, with UC Berkeley Dil Se and Maize Mirchi from Michigan placing 1st and 2nd, respectively. Another competition takes place annually at the University of California, Berkeley, known as "Anahat". Anahat 2009 was won by Asli Baat from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. In 2009, Johns Hopkins Kranti plans to break tradition and host a Hindi A Cappella Charity Showcase with the Association for India's Development on the East Coast for all Hindi A Cappella groups on the other side of the country.

Increased interest in modern a cappella (particularly collegiate a cappella) can be seen in the growth of awards such as the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (overseen by the Contemporary A Cappella Society) and competitions such as the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella for college groups and the Harmony Sweepstakes for all groups.

Emulating instruments

In addition to singing words, some a cappella singers also emulate instrumentation by reproducing the melody with their vocal cords. One of the first 20th century practitioners of this method was The Mills Brothers whose early recordings of the 1930s clearly stated on the label that all instrumentation was done vocally. More recently, "Twilight Zone" by 2 Unlimited was sung a cappella to the instrumentation on the comedy television series Tompkins 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. In the 1960s, the Swingle Singers used their voices to emulate musical instruments to Baroque and Classical music. Vocal artist Bobby McFerrin is famous for his instrumental emulation.

The Swingle Singers used nonsense words to sound like instruments, but have been known to produce non-verbal versions of musical instruments. Like the other groups, examples of their music can be found on YouTube. Beatboxing is a form of a cappella music popular in the hip-hop community, where rap is often performed a cappella also.

Petra Haden used a four track to produce an a cappella version of The Who Sell Out including the instruments and fake advertisements on her album Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out in 2005. Haden has also released a cappella versions of Journey's Don't Stop Believin', The Beach Boys' God Only Knows and Michael Jackson's Thriller. In 2009, Toyota commissioned Haden to perform three songs for television commercials for the third-generation Toyota Prius, including an a cappella version of the Bellamy Brothers 1970s song Let Your Love Flow.

Christian rock group Relient K recorded the song "Plead the Fifth" a cappella on their album Five Score and Seven Years Ago. The group recorded lead singer Matt Thiessen making drum noises and played them with electronic drums to make the song.

Even synthesizer sounds can be expressed a cappella, which is demonstrated by the Swedish vocal ensemble Visa Röster and their computer music, hymns and jazz.

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