Life's great journey is made up of day by day delights.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shape Note Singing

Shape note singing. I had never heard of it before till a few weeks ago. I am trying to learn more about it because it has really caught my attention. From what I have read so far, shape note singing is a form singing used in the early 18th century (and on) in churches, mainly in the South. However, it's beginnings are in England. In America, this tradition of singing still has quite a following. People would sing hymns from a book called "The Sacred Harp." The sacred harp being the human voice sans musical instruments. The sound is definitely a little different and might throw a person off if they don't listen for a few minutes. Shape note singing uses literal shapes for musical notes and each shape represents do,ra, mi, fa, and so on (no pun intended.) When a song is started one will hear "Do la la mi la la do so do ra mi la fa fa do." But then...oh then the music starts! What sparked my interest in this kind of forgotten form of music? I'll admit it. It was the movie "Cold Mountain." I heard a song called, "I'm Going Home" and I was hooked. I looked it up on the ever handy YouTube and from there heard more and more songs. Don't get me wrong! I love piano's, violins, harps, etc. but there is something very simple and beautiful about the sound of human voices coming together just to praise God. There is a book and documentary out about shape note singing. I hope to have them in my posession soon because I really want to feed this obsession! Included is a link to the song that originally turned me on to shape note singing! Check it out!

And here are a few more for your entertainment viewing/listening: I really wanted you to see this (although the audio is not favorable)because of the movement of their arms. They do this in "Cold Mountain" too.....assuming it helps them keep count?

What kind of music really catches your interest? Do you know anything about shape note singing? Feel free to share! :-)

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