arts / Christianity / Church / Periscope

All Day Singing


Sacred Harp singing in Haworth, Nov 14, 2015


It literally blew my mind, both musically and spiritually, as about a hundred people, young and old, children and adults, sang their heads off for six hours (with breaks for a shared lunch and coffee/tea).
Though not all there were Christians, I don’t see how anyone could sing out these “old time” religious words without being profoundly affected by them:
What_Wondrous_Love
1.
What wondrous love is this,
O my soul! O my soul!
What wondrous love is this!
O my soul!
What wondrous love is this!
That caused the Lord of bliss!
To send this precious peace,
To my soul, to my soul!
To send this precious peace
To my soul!

2.
When I was sinking down,
Sinking down, sinking down;
When I was sinking down
Sinking down
When I was sinking down,
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown
For my soul, for my soul!
Christ laid aside his crown
For my soul!

3.
Ye winged seraphs fly,
Bear the news, bear the news!
Ye winged seraphs fly
Bear the news!–
Ye winged seraphs fly,
like comets through the sky,
fill vast eternity!
With the news, with the news!
Fill vast eternity
With the news!

4.
Ye friends of Zion’s king,
join his praise, join his praise;
Ye friends of Zion’s king,
join his praise;
Ye friends of Zion’s king,
with hearts and voices sing,
and strike each tuneful string
in his praise, in his praise!
and strike each tuneful string
in his praise!

5.
To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing–
To God and to the Lamb,
who is the great I AM,
while millions join the theme,
I will sing, I will sing!
while millions join the theme,
I will sing!

6.
And while from death I’m free,
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And while from death I’m free,
I’ll sing on.
and while from death I’m free,
I’ll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and through eternity
I’ll sing on.

This song, first composed in 1811 by Alexander Means, is well-known on the folk scene from the recording by the Young Tradition.


Chris Brown explains about Sacred Harp singing from Karl Dallas on Vimeo.

Eimar leads singing at Sacred Harp singing in Haworth, West Yorks (not far from Bronte parsonage) from Karl Dallas on Vimeo.

Here are some Alabama Sacred Harp recordings collected by Alan Lomax in 1942.
About Sacred Harp singing and songbooks

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.
In shape-note music notes are printed in special shapes that help the reader identify them on the musical scale. There are two prevalent systems, one using four shapes, and one using seven. In the four-shape system used in The Sacred Harp, each of the four shapes is connected to a particular syllable, fa, sol, la, or mi, and these syllables are employed in singing the notes, just as in the more familiar system that uses do, re, mi, etc.
The four-shape system 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:

The shape for fa is a triangle, sol an oval, la a rectangle, and mi a diamond.
In Sacred Harp singing, pitch is not absolute. 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.

♦ For more information about Sacred Harp events in UK go to www.groups.yahoo.com/group/uksacredharp.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s