Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Sacred Harp of Hoboken, Georgia

This past weekend, there was a Sacred Harp concert in a small church in Oxford, Georgia, a ten mile drive east of OTR's woods. Sacred Harp has nothing to do with a frame with strings. The only "instruments" are human voices singing four part harmony. Sacred Harp, a form of shape note singing, originated in 1844 with the publication of a songbook of the same name by Benjamin Franklin Wright (Harris County, Georgia) and Elisha J. King (Talbot County, Georgia).  Their work enabled untrained voices to worship with polyphonic, harmonious song. After a century and a half, the unusual cadence and harmony of the Sacred Harp survived only in a few places, mostly in the South and Midwest. Today it enjoys a resurgence - thanks in part to the Internet - and enables listeners to hear the past singing in the present. In the following videos, readers can hear Sacred Harp from Hoboken, Georgia.

And here is an example of how Sacred Harp has entered the world of entertainment:

For more information, visit this page at the Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association.

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