It’s a beautiful sunny morning in London, so this seems like just the right thing to listen to: Pet Sounds, a capella. Despite the fact that it’s a YouTube link, sound quality is terrific. This is probably the first time I’ve really understood just how spine-tingling what music writers refer to as a singer’s ‘phrasing’ can be – check out God Only Knows. Particularly stunning is when the harmonies simply ends, and one of the group says in a very normal voice, ‘how was that?’
Apparently, the original source is a box set called The Pet Sounds Sessions.
Wikipedia’s entry on a capella singing is interesting, relating “a cappella music originally was, and still often is, used in religious music” and that the use of instruments was a matter of debate in the early Christian church.