Sacred Harp

Sacred Harp

Sacred Harp singing is a tradition of sacred choral music that took root in the Southern region of the United States. It is part of the larger tradition of shape note music.

The music and its notation

The name of the tradition comes from the title of the shape note book from which the music is sung, "The Sacred Harp". This book exists today in various editions, discussed below.

"Shape note" music means that the notes are printed in special shapes that help the reader fluently identify them on the musical scale. Each of the four shapes is connected to a particular syllable: "fa", "sol", "la", and "mi"; and these syllables are employed in singing the notes, just as in the more familiar system that uses "do", "re", "mi", etc. (see solfege). The system used in the Sacred Harp is able to cover the full musical scale because each syllable-shape combination other than "mi" is assigned to two distinct notes of the scale. For example, the C major scale would be notated and sung as follows:

As can be seen, the shape for "fa" is a triangle, "sol" an oval, "la" a rectangle, and "mi" a diamond.

The shapes and notes designate degrees of the scale, not particular pitches. Thus for a song in the key of C, "fa" designates C and F; for a song in G, "fa" designates G and C, and so on; hence it is called a "moveable "do" system.

When Sacred Harp singers begin a song, they normally start by singing it with the appropriate syllable for each pitch, using the shapes to guide them. For those in the group not yet familiar with the song, the shapes help with the task of sight reading. The process of reading through the song with the shapes also helps fix the notes in memory. Once the shapes have been sung, the group then sings the verses of the song with their printed words.

inging Sacred Harp music

Sacred Harp groups always sing a cappella, that is to say, without accompanying instruments. [In particular, no harps are present. The term "Sacred Harp" is often taken to be a metaphor for the human voice.] [On a number of early historical recordings, a piano or parlor organ accompanied the singers. In the ensuing decades, the practice of using such instruments has evidently died out.] The singers arrange themselves in a hollow square, with rows of chairs or pews on each side assigned to each of the four parts: treble, alto, tenor, and bass. The treble and tenor sections are usually mixed, with men and women singing the notes an octave apart.

There is no single leader or conductor; rather, the participants take turns in leading. The leader for a particular round selects a song from the book, and "calls" it by its page number. Leading is done in an open-palm style, standing in the middle of the square facing the tenors (see: "Leading Sacred Harp music").

The pitch at which the music is sung is relative; there is no instrument to give the singers a starting point. The leader, or else some particular singer assigned to the task, finds a good pitch with which to begin and intones it to the group (see: "Pitching Sacred Harp music"). The singers reply with the opening notes of their own parts, and then the song begins immediately.

The music is usually sung not literally as it is printed in the book, but with certain deviations established by custom; see: "How Sacred Harp music is sung".

As the name implies, Sacred Harp music is sacred (Protestant Christian) music. Many of the songs in the book are hymns that use words, meters, and stanzaic forms familiar from elsewhere in Protestant hymnody. However, Sacred Harp songs are quite different from "mainstream" Protestant hymns in their musical style: they are often polyphonic in texture, and the harmony tends to deemphasize the interval of the third in favor of fourths and fifths. In their melodies, the songs often use the pentatonic scale or similar "gapped" (fewer than seven-note) scales.

In their musical form, Sacred Harp songs fall into three basic types. Many are ordinary "hymn tunes", mostly composed in four-bar phrases and sung in multiple verses. "Fuguing tunes" contain a prominent passage about 1/3 of the way through in which each of the four choral parts enters in succession, in a way resembling a fugue. "Anthems" are longer songs, less regular in form, that are sung through just once rather than in multiple verses. [The harmony and form of Sacred Harp music are discussed in Cobb (1978, chapter 2) and in more technical detail in Horn (1970).]

Venues for singing

Sacred Harp singing normally occurs not in church services, but in special gatherings or "singings" arranged for the purpose. Singings can be local, regional, statewide, or national. Small singings are often held in homes, with perhaps only a dozen singers. Large singings have been known to have more than a thousand participants. The more ambitious singings include an ample potluck dinner in the middle of the day, traditionally called "dinner on the grounds."

Some of the largest and oldest annual singings are called "conventions". The oldest Sacred Harp convention was the Southern Musical Convention, organized in Upson County, Georgia in 1845. The two oldest surviving Sacred Harp singing conventions are the Chattahoochee Musical Convention (organized in Coweta County, Georgia in 1852), and the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention (organized as the East Texas Musical Convention in 1855).

Sacred Harp music as participatory music

Sacred Harp singers view their tradition as a participatory one, not a passive one. Those who gather for a singing sing for themselves and for each other, and not for an audience. This can be seen in several aspects of the tradition.

First, the seating arrangement (four parts in a square, facing each other) is clearly intended for the singers, not for external listeners. Non-singers are always welcome to attend a singing, but typically they sit among the singers in the back rows of the tenor section, rather than in any particular designated audience location.

The leader, being equidistant from all sections, in principle hears the best sound. The often intense sonic experience of standing in the center of the square is considered one of the perquisites of leading, and sometimes a guest will be invited as a courtesy to stand next to the leader during a song.

The music itself is also meant to be participatory. Most forms of choral composition place the melody on the top (treble) line, where it can be best heard by an audience, with the other parts written so as not to obscure the melody. In contrast, Sacred Harp composers have aimed to make each musical part singable and interesting in its own right, thus giving every singer in the group an absorbing task. [Horn (1970, 86)] For this reason, "bringing out the melody" is not a high priority in Sacred Harp composition, and indeed it is customary to assign the melody not to the trebles but to the tenors. Fuging tunes, in which each section gets its moment to shine, also illustrate the importance in Sacred Harp of maintaining the independence of each vocal part.

History of Sacred Harp singing

Marini (2003) traces the earliest roots of Sacred Harp to the "country parish music" of early 18th century England. This form of rural church music evolved a number of the distinctive traits that were passed on from tradition to tradition, until they ultimately became part of Sacred Harp singing. These traits included the assignment of the melody to the tenors as well as the distinction between the ordinary four-part hymn ("plain tune"), the anthem, and the fuging tune. [Marini (2003, 77)] Several composers of this school, including Joseph Stephenson and Aaron Williams, are represented in the 1991 Edition of "The Sacred Harp". [Sources for this paragraph: Marini (2003, 77) and the essay "Distant Roots of Shape Note Music" by Keith Willard, posted at the web site ( [] ).]

Around the mid 18th century, the forms and styles of English country parish music were introduced to America, notably in a new hymnal called "Urania", published 1764 by the singing master James Lyon. [Marini (2003, 78)] This stimulus soon led to the development of a robust native school of composition, signaled by the 1770 publication of William Billings's "The New England Psalm Singer", and then by a great number of new compositions by Billings and those who followed in his path. The work of these composers, sometimes called the "First New England School", forms a major part of the Sacred Harp to this day.

Billings and his followers worked as singing masters, who led singing schools. The purpose of these schools was to train young people in the correct singing of sacred music. This pedagogical movement flourished, and led ultimately to the invention of shape notes, which originated as way to making the teaching of singing easier. The first shape note hymnal appeared in 1801: "The Easy Instructor" [Dick Hulan writes, "My copy of William Smith's "Easy Instructor, Part II" (1803) attributes the invention [of shape notes] to 'J. Conly of Philadelphia'." And according to David Warren Steel, in "John Wyeth and the Development of Southern Folk Hymnody", "This notation was invented by Philadelphia merchant John Connelly, who on 10 March 1798 signed over his rights to the system to Little and Smith." Andrew Law also laid claim to the invention of the shape note system.] by William Smith and William Little. At first, Smith and Little's shapes competed with a rival system, created by Andrew Law (1749-1821) in his "The Musical Primer" of 1803. Although this book came out two years later than Smith and Little's book, Law claimed earlier invention of shape notes. In his system, a square indicated "fa", a circle "sol", a triangle "la" and a diamond, "mi." Law used the shaped notes without a musical staff. The Smith and Little shapes ultimately prevailed.

Shape notes became very popular, and during the first part of the nineteenth century, a whole series of shape note hymnbooks appeared, many of which were widely distributed. As the population spread west and south, the tradition of shape note singing expanded geographically. Composition flourished, with the new hymns often drawing on the tradition of folk song for tunes and inspiration. Probably the most successful shape note book prior to "The Sacred Harp" was William Walker's "Southern Harmony", published in 1835 and still in use today. [The shape note systems continued to evolve throughout 19th century; for a more complete history, see shape note.]

Even as they flourished and spread, shape notes and the kind of participatory music which they served came under attack. The critics were from the urban-based "better music" movement, spearheaded by Lowell Mason, which advocated a new form of hymnody, more "scientific" and based on the rules of harmony prevailing in European music. The new hymnody gradually prevailed. Shape notes and their music disappeared from the cities prior to the Civil War, and from the rural areas of the Northeast and Midwest in the following decades. However, they retained a haven in the rural South, which remained a fertile territory for the creation of new shapenote hymnbooks. [Source for this paragraph: Marini (2003, 81). Evidence that Americans outside the rural South were slow, even reluctant, to give up their old hymnody is given in Horn (1970, ch. 12).]

Early history of "The Sacred Harp"

Sacred Harp singing came into being with the 1844 publication of Benjamin Franklin White and Elisha J. King’s "The Sacred Harp". It was this book, now distributed in several different versions, that came to be the shape note tradition with the largest number of participants.

B. F. White (1800-1879) was originally from Union County, South Carolina, but since 1842 had been living in Harris County, Georgia. He prepared "The Sacred Harp" in collaboration with a younger man, E. J. King, (ca. 1821–44), who was from Talbot County, Georgia. Together they compiled, transcribed, and composed tunes, and published a book of over 250 songs.

King died soon after the book was published, and White was left to guide its growth. He was responsible for organizing singing schools and conventions at which "The Sacred Harp" was used as the songbook. During his lifetime, the book became popular and would go through three revisions (1850, 1859, and 1869), all produced by committees consisting of White and several colleagues working under the auspices of the Southern Musical Convention. The first two new editions simply added appendices of new songs to the back of the book. The 1869 revision was more extensive, removing some of the less popular songs and adding new ones in their places. From the original 262 pages, the book was expanded by 1869 to 477. This edition was reprinted and continued in use for several decades.

Origin of the modern editions

Around the turn of the 20th century, Sacred Harp singing entered a period of conflict over the issue of traditionalism. The conflict ultimately split the community. [The primary source for this section is Cobb (2001, chapter 4).]

B. F. White had died in 1879 before completing a fourth revision of his book; thus the version that Sacred Harp participants were singing from was by the turn of the century over three decades old. During this time, the musical tastes of Sacred Harp's traditional adherents, the inhabitants of the rural South, had changed in important ways. Notably, gospel music - syncopated and chromatic, often with piano accompaniment - had become popular, along with a number of church hymns of the "mainstream" variety, such as "Rock of Ages." Seven-shape notation systems had appeared and won adherents away from the older four-shape system (see shape note for details). As time passed, Sacred Harp singers doubtless became aware that what they were singing had become quite distinct from contemporary tastes.

The natural path to take—and the one ultimately taken—would be to assert the archaic character of Sacred Harp as an outright virtue. In this view, Sacred Harp should be treasured as a time-tested musical tradition, standing above current trends of fashion. The difficulty with adopting traditionalism as a guiding doctrine was that different singers had different opinions about just what form the stable, traditionalized version of Sacred Harp would take.

The first move was made by W. M. Cooper, of Dothan, Alabama, who was a leading Sacred Harp teacher in his own region, but not part of the inner circle of B. F. White's old colleagues and descendants. In 1902 Cooper prepared a revision of "The Sacred Harp" that, while retaining most of the old songs, also added new tunes that reflected more contemporary music styles. [Miller (2004) characterizes Cooper book style thus: it "contains a greater proportion of "camp meeting" songs than the Denson book, with more compressed part-writing, chromatic harmonies, and choruses characterized by call-and-response rather than "fuging" style. Denson book singers generally say that the Cooper book sounds more like "new book orgospel singing."] Cooper made other changes, too:

*He retitled many old songs. These songs were formerly named by their tune, using arbitrarily chosen place names ("New Britain", "Northfield", "Charlestown"). The new names were based on the text; thus "New Britain" became "Amazing Grace", "Northfield" become "How Long, Dear Savior", and so on. The old system was intended in colonial times to permit mixing and matching of tunes and texts, but was unnecessary in a system where the pairing of tune and text was fixed.
*He transposed some songs into new keys. This is thought to have brought the notation closer to actual performing practice.
*He wrote new alto parts for the many songs that originally just had three vocal lines.

The Cooper revision was a success, being widely adopted in many areas of the South, such as Florida, southern Alabama, and Texas, where it has continued as the predominant Sacred Harp book to this day. The "Cooper book," as it is now often called, was revised by Cooper himself in 1907 and 1909; and since then has been supervised by an editorial committee which produced new editions in 1927, 1950, 1960, 1992, 2000 and 2006.

However, in the original core geographic area of Sacred Harp singing, northern Alabama and Georgia, the singers did not in general take to the Cooper book, as they felt it deviated too far from the original tradition. Obtaining a new book for these singers was made more difficult by the fact that B. F. White's son James L. White, who would have been the natural choice to prepare a new edition, was a non-traditionalist. Ultimately, a committee headed by Joseph Summerlin James produced a new edition (1911) that largely satisfied the wishes of this community of singers.

The James edition was later revised in a version that moved somewhat further in the direction of traditionalism. This revision was completed in 1936 by a committee under the leadership of the brothers Seaborn and Thomas Denson, both influential singing school teachers. Both died shortly before the project was complete, and the remaining work was overseen by Paine Denson, son of Thomas. This version of "The Sacred Harp" is still often called the "Denson book". Later editorial committees produced further revisions of this book in 1960, 1967, 1971, and 1991.

Even the highly traditionalist James and Denson books followed Cooper in adding alto parts to most of the old three-part songs (these alto parts led to a lawsuit by Cooper, which was unsuccessful). Somepeople (see for instance the reference by Buell Cobb given below) believe that the new alto parts imposed an esthetic cost by filling in the former stark open harmonies of the three-part songs. Wallace McKenzie (reference below) argues to the contrary, basing his view on a systematic study of representative songs. [McKenzie further judges that the Cooper alto parts were more successful than the Denson ones in retaining the original harmonic style.] In any event, there is little support today for abandoning the added alto parts, since most singers give a high priority to giving every side of the square its own part to sing.

It was thus that the traditionalism debate split the Sacred Harp community, and there seems little prospect that it will ever reunite under a single book. However, there have been no further splits. Both the Denson and the Cooper groups adopted traditionalist views for the particular form of Sacred Harp they favored, and these forms have now been stable for about a century.

The strength of traditionalism can be seen in the front matter of the two hymnbooks. The Denson book is forthrightly Biblical in its defense of tradition:


:"All lovers of Sacred Harp Music, and to the memory of the illustrious and venerable patriarchs who established the Traditional Style of Sacred Harp singing and admonished their followers to "seek the old paths and walk therein"." [The passage quotes Jeremiah 6:16: "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."]

The Cooper book also shows a warm appreciation of tradition:

:"May God bless everyone as we endeavor to promote and enjoy Sacred Harp music and to continue the rich tradition of those who have gone before us."

To say that both communities are traditionalist does not mean they discourage the creation of new songs. To the contrary, it is part of the tradition that musically creative Sacred Harp singers should become composers themselves and add to the canon. The new compositions are prepared in traditional styles, and could be considered a kind of tribute to the older material. New songs have been incorporated into editions of "The Sacred Harp" throughout the 20th century.

Other Sacred Harp books

Two other books are currently used by Sacred Harp singers. A few singers in north Georgia employ the "White book," an expanded version of the 1869 B. F. White edition edited by J. L. White. African-American Sacred Harp singers, although primarily users of the Cooper book, also make use of a supplementary volume, "The Colored Sacred Harp", produced by Judge Jackson (1883-1958) in 1934 and later revised in two subsequent editions. In his book "Judge Jackson and The Colored Sacred Harp", Joe Dan Boyd has identified four regions of Sacred Harp singing among African-Americans - eastern Texas (Cooper book), northern Mississippi (Denson book), south Alabama and Florida (Cooper book), and New Jersey (Cooper book). The "Colored Sacred Harp" is limited to the New Jersey and south Alabama-Florida groups. Sacred Harp was "exported" from south Alabama to New Jersey. It appears to have died out among the African-Americans in eastern Texas.

In summary, three revisions of and one companion book to "The Sacred Harp" are currently in use in Sacred Harp singing:

*"The B. F. White Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition" (2006). Samson, AL: The Sacred Harp Book Company.
*"The Sacred Harp, 1991 edition" (the "Denson book"). Carrollton, GA: Sacred Harp Publishing Company.
*"The Sacred Harp, J. L. White Fourth Edition, with Supplement" (the "White book"). Atlanta, GA: J. L. White. Released 1911; republished 2007.
*"The Colored Sacred Harp". Ozark, AL: Judge Jackson. [3rd revised edition (1992) includes rudiments by H. J. Jackson (son of J. Jackson) and an autobiography of Judge Jackson] .

Sacred Harp books generally contain a section of Rudiments, describing the basics of music and Sacred Harp singing.

The spread of Sacred Harp singing in modern times

In recent years, Sacred Harp singing has experienced a resurgence in popularity, as it is discovered by new participants who did not grow up in the tradition. [For an extended narrative of this spread, see Bealle (1997, chapter 4).] There are now strong Sacred Harp singing communities in most major urban areas of the United States, and in many rural areas, as well. [An guide to singings that demonstrates this dramatic spread may be found at the "" web site, under] One of the first groups of singers formed outside the traditional Southern home region of Sacred Harp singing was in greater Chicago.Miller (2004)] The first Illinois convention was held in 1985, with enthusiastic and strongly proactive support by prominent Southern traditional singers. The Midwest Convention is now acknowledged to be one of the major American conventions, attracting hundreds of singers from all over the US and abroad. Similarly, the Sacred Harp singing community in western New England has become a prominent one in recent years. In March 2008, the 2008 Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention attracted over 300 singers from 25 states and a number of foreign countries. [ [ Sacred Harp sing draws followers- ] ] Other prominent singing conventions outside the South include, for example, the Garden State Sacred Harp Singing Convention in New Jersey [ [ AHEAD | Sacred Harp Singing Conventions; Concerts by (and for) Singers - New York Times ] ] and the Minnesota State Convention, which is now in its 19th year. [ [ 19th Annual Minnesota State Sacred Harp Singing Convention ] ] Sacred Harp singing has now spread even beyond the borders of the United States. There is an active Sacred Harp community in the UK, for example. []

New singers typically strive to follow the original southern customs at their singings. Traditional singers have responded to this need by providing help in orienting the newcomers. For instance, the Rudiments section of the 1991 Denson edition includes information on how to hold a singing; this information would be superfluous in a traditional context, but is important for a group starting up on its own. The tradition of the singing master is still carried on today, and singing masters from traditional Sacred Harp regions often travel outside the South to teach. In recent years an annual [ summer camp] has been established, at which newcomers can learn to sing Sacred Harp.

Origins of the music

::"Main article: Sacred Harp hymnwriters and composers

The music used in Sacred Harp singing is eclectic. Most of the songs can be assigned to one of four historical layers.

*The oldest of these layers comes from 18th century New England, and represents a rendition in shape notes of the work of outstanding early American composers such as William Billings and Daniel Read, who worked as singing masters.

*A second layer comes from the decades around 1830, following the migration of the shape note tradition to the rural South. Many of the songs in this layer are believed to be originally secular folk tunes, harmonized in parts and given religious lyrics. As one would expect from the folk origin of such music, it often emphasizes the notes of the pentatonic scale. They often employ stark, vivid harmonies based on open fifths. Most of the songs of this layer were originally composed in just three parts (treble, tenor, bass), with the altos added later, as noted above.

:The sound of this musical layer, as well as to some extent "The Sacred Harp" in general, can be observed by comparing versions of the well-known hymn "Amazing Grace", which is familiar to many Americans in a form such as the following:

:In "The Sacred Harp" (1991 edition), "Amazing Grace" is harmonized quite differently:

:Many listeners feel that while the Sacred Harp version is perhaps not as pretty as the one given above, it has more character. (As noted above, the title "New Britain" is the name of the tune, not the song as a whole.)

*A third layer of "Sacred Harp" music is from the mid nineteenth century and represents the popular sensibility of that era. A number of these mid-century works have an almost primal simplicity—the harmony is essentially a single extended major chord, and the parts a decoration in slow tempo of that chord.

*The most recent layer consists of the songs that were added to the books during the twentieth century. These are the work of musically creative participants in the Sacred Harp tradition, who strove to create songs that would fit into the existing tradition by adopting the style of one of the earlier periods. About a sixth of the Denson edition is taken up with such compositions, dating from as recently as 1990. The twentieth-century composers often have recycled their lyrics from earlier Sacred Harp songs (or from their sources, such as the work of the 18th-century hymnodist Isaac Watts). A number of these modern compositions have become favorites of the singing community, and it is anticipated that future editions of "The Sacred Harp" will also include new songs.

There are a few additional songs in "The Sacred Harp, 1991 edition" that cannot be assigned to any of these four main layers. There are some very old songs of European origin, as well as songs from the English rural tradition that inspired the early New England composers. There are also a handful of songs by European classical composers (Ignaz Pleyel, Thomas Arne, and Henry Rowley Bishop). The book even includes a couple of hymns by Lowell Mason, long ago the implacable enemy of the tradition that "The Sacred Harp" has preserved to this day.

The description just given is based on the "The Sacred Harp, 1991 edition", also known as the Denson edition. The widely-used "Cooper" edition overlaps considerably (about 60%) in content, but also includes many later songs. A detailed comparison of the two editions has been made by Sacred Harp scholar Gaylon L. Powell, available [ here] .

Other books with the title "Sacred Harp"

"The Sacred Harp" was a popular name for 19th century hymn and tune books, with no fewer than four bearing the title. The first of these was compiled by John Hoyt Hickok and printed in Lewiston, Pennsylvania in 1832. The second was compiled by Lowell and Timothy Mason and printed in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1834, as part of the "better music" movement mentioned above. Amusingly, the Mason brothers' publisher brought this book out in a shape note edition, much against their wishes. [Jackson (1933b, 395)]

The third "Sacred Harp" was the one by B. F. White and E. J. King (1844), the origin of today's Sacred Harp singing tradition.

Lastly, according to W. J. Reynolds, writing in "Hymns of Our Faith", there was yet a fourth "Sacred Harp" - "The Sacred Harp" published by J. M. D. Cates in Nashville, Tennessee in 1867.


ee also

*Shape note
*Sacred Harp hymnwriters and composers
*List of shape-note tunebooks
*Chattahoochee Musical Convention
*East Texas Musical Convention
*Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention

Books and scholarly articles

*Bealle, John (1997) "Public Worship, Private Faith: Sacred Harp and American Folksong". Athens: University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-8203-1988-0
*Boyd, Joe Dan (2002) "Judge Jackson and The Colored Sacred Harp". Alabama Folklife Association. ISBN 0-9672672-5-0
*Campbell, Gavin James (1997) " 'Old Can Be Used Instead of New': Shape-Note Singing and the Crisis of Modernity in the New South, 1880-1920." "Journal of American Folklore" 110:169-188.
*Cobb, Buell E. (2001) "The Sacred Harp: A Tradition and Its Music". University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-8203-2371-3
*Eastburn, Kathryn (2008) [,673390.aspx "A Sacred Feast: Reflections on Sacred Harp Singing and Dinner on the Ground"] University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-1831-4
*Horn, Dorothy D. (1970) "Sing to me of Heaven: A Study of Folk and Early American Materials in Three Old Harp Books". Gainesville: University of Florida Press.
*Jackson, George Pullen (1933a) "White Spirituals in the Southern Uplands". University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-486-21425-7
*Jackson, George Pullen (1933b) "Buckwheat notes," "The Musical Quarterly" XIX(4):393-400.
*Marini, Stephen A. (2003) "Sacred Song in America: Religion, Music, and Public Culture". Urbana: University of Illinois Press. See Chapter 3, "Sacred Harp singing"
*McKenzie, Wallace (1989) The Alto Parts in the 'True Dispersed Harmony' of "The Sacred Harp" Revisions. "The Musical Quarterly" 73:153-171. [Available on line; see External Links below.]
*Miller, Kiri (ed.) (2002) "The Chattahoochee Musical Convention, 1852-2002: A Sacred Harp Historical Sourcebook". The Sacred Harp Museum. ISBN 1-887617-13-2
*Miller, Kiri (2004) "First Sing the Notes": Oral and Written Traditions in Sacred Harp Transmission. "American Music" 22:475-501. The article is available on line at a pay site: []
*Miller, Kiri (2007) "Traveling Home: Sacred Harp Singing and American Pluralism". University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252032144
*Wallace, James B. (2007) " [ Stormy Banks and Sweet Rivers: A Sacred Harp Geography] " "Southern Spaces" ISSN: 1551-2754

See also the bibliographic entries under Shape note.

External links

* [ Educational unit on Sacred Harp, from the State Archives of Florida]
* [ Example of sacred harp singing, from Music from the Florida Folklife Collection (made available for public use by the State Archives of Florida)]
* [ African-American Sacred Harp singing]
* [ Fasola Home Page] - a web site dedicated to Sacred Harp music
* [ Introduction to Sacred Harp singing]
* [ Judge Jackson and the Colored Sacred Harp]
* [ Sacred Harp and Related Shape-Note Music Resources] - an extensive site of resources concerning Sacred Harp, other Shape-Note music, Gallery music, etc.
* [ SacredHarp.mus] . Electronic sound files of songs from the Sacred Harp, using Melody Assistant software.
* [ Sacred Harp Music] - article on Sacred Harp from the Handbook of Texas online
* [ New Georgia Encyclopedia entry on Sacred Harp in GA]
* [ Sacred Harp Publishing Company Web site]
* [ Sacred Harp singing in Texas] - includes composer sketches, including one of B. F. White
* [ Shape Note Historical Background]
* [ The Alto Parts in the 'True Dispersed Harmony' of "The Sacred Harp" Revisions] - McKenzie (archived document)
* [ Sacred Harp description] on archived George Pullen Jackson site
* [ Recordings of Sacred Harp singings recorded by folklorist John Quincy Wolf]
* [ Stoughton Harmony vs Sacred Harp]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sacred Harp —    Compiled by Benjamin Franklin White (1800–1879) and published in Hamilton, Georgia, and Philadelphia in 1844, the most famous and widely used of the shape note tune books. Shape notes help singers find the pitch of printed notes by employing… …   Historical dictionary of sacred music

  • Sacred Harp hymnwriters and composers — The Sacred Harp is a shape note hymnal, originally compiled in 1844 by Benjamin Franklin White and Elisha J. King in Georgia and used to this day in revised form by Sacred Harp singers throughout America and overseas. This article is a historical …   Wikipedia

  • How Sacred Harp music is sung — This article concerns how Sacred Harp music is sung, focusing on singing practices that are not expressed in the musical notation. In musicology, the material discussed here would be called performance practice, but the term is awkward in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Pitching Sacred Harp music — In Sacred Harp music, it is the custom to sing a song not necessarily in the pitch in which it is notated in the hymnbook itself, but rather in a key chosen for the moment. Pitching (also: keying) is the term used to describe the task of finding… …   Wikipedia

  • Leading Sacred Harp music — The Sacred Harp musical tradition is unusual in choral music in that the task of leading it is not delegated to a single expert, but is rotated among participants. A number of customs related to leading can be traced to this democratic, non… …   Wikipedia

  • New Sacred Harp — The New Sacred Harp (or The New Sacred Harp: A Collection of Hymn tunes, Anthems, and Popular Songs: for the Choir, Class, Convention and Home Circle) was a seven shape note tune book released in 1884 through S.P. Richard Son of Atlanta, Georgia …   Wikipedia

  • Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention — The Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention is an annual gathering of shape note singers. Songs are sung a cappella from the Sacred Harp tunebook. The Convention was organized on April 28, 1900 at the Round Top School House, in Caldwell… …   Wikipedia

  • Alabama Sacred Harp Singers — The Alabama Sacred Harp Singers were a sacred harp choir specializing in gospel music. On April 16, 1928, they recorded several songs for Columbia, amongst which Present Joys , which was later included on Anthology of American Folk Music. They… …   Wikipedia

  • Jew's harp — A modern Jew s harp …   Wikipedia

  • The Five Sacred Trees — John Williams composed The Five Sacred Trees for Judith LeClair, the principal bassoon of the New York Philharmonic in 1995, to honor the orchestra s one hundred fiftieth anniversary. The first performance was given by LeClaire and the New York… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”