A cappella is a musical term used to refer to the way a piece is performed with a voice. It is distinguished by its special beauty and penetration due to its pure sound.
A cappella singing is a performance of musical works by voice without accompaniment of musical instruments.
Origin and history
Experts in the field of music history most often associate the emergence of the term "a cappella" with the name of the famous Sistine Chapel - the largest church located in the cradle of Catholicism - the Vatican. It was from here that the ceremony of worship was spread, during which prayers and church chants were performed by the choir without any musical accompaniment.
Later, the practice of singing a cappella became widespread in other religious movements, including the Orthodox Church, in which this method of performing musical works as a result became dominant over others. In the 19th century, this practice became firmly established in the secular music of various composers, who used it to emphasize the beauty of the melody. Several Russian composers, including Sergei Rachmaninov, Dmitry Shostakovich, Georgy Sviridov and others, were active supporters of this style. In Europe, the practice of singing "a cappella" became widespread in the works of the Renaissance, as well as in the works of composers who belonged to the so-called Dutch or Franco-Flemish school.
A cappella today
Initially, this method of performing musical works was used mainly by choral groups, therefore the term "a cappella" previously denoted precisely group singing. Nevertheless, the meaning of this term was subsequently expanded, and today the word "a cappello" refers to any performance of a work without the accompaniment of musical instruments. In the colloquial speech of people associated with the musical sphere, you can often find the use of the phrase "acapella performance", although it is not correct from an academic point of view.
Today, a cappella singing is practiced in several main areas. The first of them is folk art, where this way of performing works is quite often realized in a choral format. The second is academic performance, when it is the way of performing without accompaniment of musical instruments that allows one to appreciate the richness of the performer's range and his mastery of his own voice. Finally, the practice of acapella singing has not lost its position in church services, where it is still actively used, and mainly in choral performance.