Sacred Harp online

May 11, 2006

For those of you who know about Sacred Harp music (no, not sacred heart), the bible of that tradition is now online. Well, at least a crude digitization of it is and a lame website to boot. That old favorite “Amazing Grace” can be found on page 45 (type in 44). You’ll also find “All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus’ Name” somewhere. This music is the common link between American Protestant hymnody and country music.

In Sacred Harp music, the melody is in the TENOR. It was a male dominated society so THEY got the tune. The sopranos sang these dreary parts normally relegated to the middle voices.

There are [gasp] parallel 5ths everywhere, a melodic doubling STRICTLY forbidden in academia.

At the beginning of every Sacred Harp song, they sing through it in their own kind of solfege: the traditional solfege is based upon do re mi fa so la ti do. Sacred Harp music, which is also known is some circles as “Fa So La Music,” uses an alternative technique to doo doo their way up the scale.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 becomes fa sol la fa sol la mi fa

Got it? Wanna see what it looks like?

The Lone Pilgrim
Take a listen to this group. This is what Sacred Harp singing sounds like.

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