Aug 15

What Does ‘A Capella’ Mean?

“Suppose they asked you if you could sing A Capella, would you know what to do?”

Barney Fife tries to explain to Rafe Hollister what it means to ‘sing A Capella’ and though he doesn’t get the definition right, he says what many may be thinking. [LINK]  To defend his thoughts about A Capella singing, Barney comes up with a song that he sings about ‘A Capella’.  Watch the short video, enjoy a laugh and then we’ll talk about ‘A Capella’…

By definition, a cap·pel·la means:

1. without instrumental accompaniment…or
2. in the style of church or chapel music.
Notice the FIRST definition; when we sing A Capella, we’re singing with our voices…only.  Read Ephesians 5: 19 “…speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord…”  Speak to one another…sing and make music in your heart… God’s word explains (better yet) commands, that we are to sing.  And if you look closely, this singing is done with our voices and not with an instrument.  Therefore we are to sing A Capella.  Our culture doesn’t know much about this type of singing.  Listening to music on the radio is almost exclusively with instrumental accompaniment.  That would mean we aren’t much of an A Capella culture.  But is it easy to sing ‘without instrumental accompaniment’?  It takes work and that work takes practice.  We need to be more focused on singing without instrumental assistance.  Turn the radio off and start singing A Capella.
But you might be wondering, where do I start?  Begin with a search for A Capella singing groups.  Consider these as a few: His Harmony, Legacy, The McCoy Family Singers, Hallal, Acappella, Zoe, GLAD and many more.  [LINK]  But let me encourage you to consider this…why would we try to sing A Capella songs and still make ‘instrumental’ noises with our voices?  Doesn’t make sense to me…but that’s just me.  in my opinion, let’s support all of the true A Capella Groups (songs) who sing without any ‘instrupella’ or vocal band (using your voice to sound like a snare drum).  Singing without any instruments or trying to act like an instrument is true A Capella.


The SECOND definition for A Capella states; “…in the style of church or chapel music.”  A Capella singing, choral singing performed without instruments is done in the manner in which the early church, or chapel did their singing.  The expression means “in chapel style” in Italian.  Hundreds of years ago, religious music was composed for use in the chapels, which, unlike large churches today, had no bands, organs or instruments.  Singing and music in the early church, via historical documentation was exclusively designed to be sung using the human voice only!  A Capella singing is described in God’s word and was practiced in the early church.  Even early on within the denominational world, instruments were universally rejected.

So…”Suppose they asked you if you could sing A Capella, would you know what to do?”

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