On this page you will find links to the category descriptions for the three scoring categories. There are also papers which describe other aspects of contest judging.
These descriptions were adopted by the Guild in June 2014 and will apply to the contest cycle starting in October 2014.
Note that these are taken from the descriptions published by the Barbershop Harmony Society and contain a few references to their judging structure.
Music category description (updated October 2019)
Judges in this category adjudicate the musical elements in the performance: melody, harmony, range and tessitura, tempo and rhythm and meter, construction and form, and embellishments. They judge the extent to which the musical performance displays the hallmarks of the barbershop style, and the degree to which the musical performance demonstrates an artistic sensitivity to the music’s primary theme. Click here for the full category description
Performance category description (updated October 2019)
These judges evaluate entertainment within the Barbershop style. Vocal and visual elements, in the context of the song choice and delivery, are evaluated for their contriibution to the overall entertainment effect of the performance. Click here for the full category description
Singing category description
Judges in this category evaluate the degree to which the performer achieves artistic singing in the barbershop style: the production of vibrant, rich, resonant, technically accurate, and highly skilled sound, created both by the individual singer’s use of good vocal techniques, and by the ensemble processes of tuning, balancing, unity of sound and precision. They listen for a sense of precise intonation, a feeling of fullness or expansion of sound, a perception of a high degree of vocal skill, a high level of unity and consistency throughout the performance, and a freedom from apparent effort that allows the full communication of the lyric and song. Click here for the full category description