Shape-note singing

Shape-note singingShape-note singing is a musical-notation system developed by 18th-century itinerant American singing masters to quickly teach 4-part unaccompanied vocal harmony for use in worship. The term “shape note” comes from the use of different shapes for the note heads to indicate intervals between the pitches. Abraham Lincoln was reported to have sung it at New Salem; John Wesley Powell is believed to have taught it in Macon County, IL. The Sacred Harp is a shape-note tune book that was first published in 1844. The book has remained in continuous use ever since, traveling from its New England roots into the deep South and back out to all corners of the Nation. No longer connected to any particular church denomination, today the unique harmony, full-throated energy and community experience embraced by Sacred Harp singers appeal to participants from all walks of life. At the CU Folk and Roots Festival, experienced singers will lead as everyone is invited to join in. We’ll include a brief explanation of the shape-note system during a break mid-way through our session, but no note-reading or shape-note experience is needed. Listeners are also welcome. Loaner songbooks will be provided.

Saturday, November 2nd, 10:00am-12:00pm
Independent Media Center