Shape note singing -- The Sacred Harp

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by rlvaughn, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    This old-fashioned shape note singing has been going on in Texas since 1855. The East Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention meets this weekend in Henderson, Texas and sings a cappella renditions of religious and patriotic (mostly all religious, but a few patriotic) songs from the Christian tradition. If you're in the area (or even if you're not), drop by and visit us.
     
  2. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    Shaped notes were developed by Joseph Funk in the little village of Singers Glen, Virginia. I grew up on a farm several miles from the Glen.

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  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    Joseph Funk, his work and his Harmonia Sacra are well-known in many shape-note circles. The Harmonia Sacra is still used at singings in the East among the Mennonites and others. (It has some very nice songs in it.) His grandson Aldine S. Kieffer is also one very important person in shape note history.

    Funk was a developer and leader in shape note printing, but the initial invention is usually credited to John Connelly of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania around 1790. William Little and William Smith credited him in their song book The Easy Instructor, which first came out in 1801. Andrew Law asserted that he was the inventor of shape notes, using them in his The Musical Primer in 1803. Of course, that is two years later than Little and Smith, and five years later than Connelly's note below.

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    Law's shapes were only slightly different, but he dispensed with the use of a staff -- possibly dooming his idea to failure.
     
  4. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    I have a copy of the Harmonia Sacra. I love to hear the Mennonites sing four-part harmony.
     
  5. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    Stream of Death is one of my favorites -- especially among songs I've never heard elsewhere.
     

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