Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary

Next year will mark 80 years since the Blackwood Brothers Quartet formed in Choctaw County, Miss., not far from where I live. Throughout my life I have enjoyed listening to recordings by this quartet, my favorites being Thank God I Am Free and Learning to Lean. There probably was not a day in which I did not play at least one song by the Blackwood Brothers on Sundown Gospel Time, which aired on WEPA Radio in Eupora.

The quartet in 1952 gained national attention when it won the competition on CBS-TV’s Arthur Godfrey’s Talents Scouts. Sadly that summer two of the singers, R.W. Blackwood and Bill Lyles, perished in a plane crash. Cecil Blackwood replaced the baritone position that his elder brother had and J.D. Sumner replaced Lyles as the bass singer.

Some descendants of the original Blackwood Brothers are continuing to sing Gospel music, using the moniker of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet. I would like to hear them in concert.

1. baritone (BEAR-uh-tone)

A. a man’s singing voice lower than the voice of the tenor

B. a man’s singing voice higher than the voice of the bass

C. a large brass instrument shaped like a trumpet or coiled in oval form

D. All of the above

2.  sonorous (sa-NAHR-us)

A. loud, deep or resonant, as a sound

B. inclined to impart spiritual truths

C. professional

D. pedagogical


Sonorous is also pronounced “SON-uh-rus.” No. 2 is A. No. 1 is D.

3. The quality of sound made by a voice or musical instrument is

A. paucity (PAW-si-te).

B. timbre (TAM-ber).

C. en bloc (AHN-blawk).

D. antipode (AN-ti-pode).

4. The octave is an interval of

A. a sixth.

B. a seventh.

C. an eighth.

D. a ninth.

E. None of the above

No. 3 is B. No. 4 is C. An example of an octave is from C to C. According to San Francisco Classical Voice, the first note can have a sharp or flat as long as the last note has the corresponding sharp or flat.

Last week’s mystery word is ambiguous.

This week’s mystery word to solve is found in the title of a song that the Blackwood Brothers Quartet recorded in the early 1950s. This three-syllable adjective describes a future day.