Like glacial water, like mountain air, the voice is the purest instrument, some say, and undiluted, it refreshes the soul. The modern world is often one of cacophony, and for today's ears, music without the distraction of instruments and other sounds can be stark, powerful and clear. And so a cappella – defined from the Italian meaning in the style of the chapel choir – is this week's song topic. It has its origins in religious music, from Palestrina and Monteverdi to Bach, but spans the ages and has long since re-emerged in folk, blues, hip-hop and later mixtures of these and other genres. From solo singers to choirs, American gospel to Welsh miners, military song to church chanting, a cappella is a big part of any culture and is a great expression of humans in harmony.
For the purposes of this week's topic, songs that are unaccompanied all the way through are ideal, but are not the only ones that can be nominated. If there are clear sections where a cappella plays a prominent role in a song, then it's valid to put them forward. And following my recent voluminous report over songs about smuggling and stealing, and in the purifying spirit of this subject, I'm now keeping this brief. Hear the voices. Enjoy the silence in between. And feel revived.
Furthermore, this is a special Christmas and New Year edition for which we have a guest guru – cherished regular Ralph Brown aka Magicman – who will present an a cappella results blog on 2 January. So there will be a whole week to put in your nominations (until the evening of Thursday 26 December). Let us bring melody, as well as vocal harmony. And there's no more to add, but a very merry Christmas and happy New Year to you all.
To increase the likelihood of your nomination being considered, please:
• Tell us why it's a worthy contender.
• Quote lyrics if helpful, but for copyright reasons no more than a third of a song's words.
• Provide a link to the song. We prefer Muzu or YouTube, but Spotify, SoundCloud or Grooveshark are fine, too.
• Listen to others people's suggestions and add yours to a collaborative Spotify playlist.
• There's a wealth of data on RR, including the songs that are "zedded", at the Marconium. It also tells you the meaning of "zedded", "donds" and other strange words used by RR regulars.