A form of R&B based harmony vocalizing using phonetic or nonsense
syllables (like a repeated "doo-wop") for rhythm and intricate harmonic
1948 - 1951 Vocal groups were jazz or rhythm and blues oriented. Nonsense syllables and falsetto were used. Adult themes
1952 The birth of the vocal arrangement and over all feel of rhythm and blues. Blow harmonies and nonsense syllables, use of falsetto to run over tenor leads. suggestive in up tempo innocent love.
1954 Influenced by existing groups. Harmonies are tight and sweet, lead singers not as smooth. Leads alternate between tenor and "falsetto" run above in song ballads and trail off in jump tunes. Bass is given more voice then just background harmony. Nonsense syllables in most songs, but subdued in ballads. Themes are young and of young love. Suggestive lyrics are rare.
Vocal Group Harmony
Wide Range of Voices (lead, first tenor (falsetto), second tenor, baritone bass.
Simple Beat and Light Instrumentation
Simple Music and Lyrics
1954 was a year of transition of the vocal sound, from the adult oriented
rhythm and blues to "amateurish" street corner doo wop.
Doo Wop was an urban North sound that has been romanticized as having been born on the street corner. The truth is that these teenagers first musical experiences were in the home and\or black church Most of the these groups began during high school and were of bonding experience. The members were typical teenagers, socially awkward and shy, trying to impress the girls. They formed groups consisting of 4-6 individuals where each knew their role and part within the group
Like teenagers they were carefree, into what made them happy at the moment and often irresponsible. Knowing very little about the world around them and the groups were easily led and ended up making these mistakes:
Later this practice would be stopped and the acts received per union scale. Many times they were required to give the check back before the performance and one the one received after was much smaller. Little Joey and the Flips, recounted how this had happened to them 1958 and 1962 when they appeared on "American Bandstand"
It is ironic that the little companies, that had much to gain by their success, were the villains. Many of these groups would have survived if they hadn't been cheated of mechanical and performance rights.
Doo Wop Jukebox
Doo Wop Nation
The Doo Wop Society
Where did the name Doo Wop come from?
Doo Wop: Definition of a genre