What I do on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays


And now for something a little different. I decided there were too many words in this blog, so we’ll try a video. This is a clip from Cold Mountain that showcases Sacred Harp hymn singing.

Sacred Harp is something I knew nothing about until January, when I signed up for a class taught by the Yale music department. It is a unique form of hymn singing that still thrives in the South and has developed a “diaspora” following across the United States. It is the oddest thing in the world to listen to at first, but it grows on you. The history of this style of singing is something I am still trying to piece together, but it began in New England as an effort to improve the psalm singing in the churches and quickly moved south, and has become identified as a distinctly southern style of singing. All I can say is it’s a lot of fun to sing, especially as there is no real emphasis on performance, just on gathering to sing together.

Oh, and I sing the part that Jude Law sings. Mostly because the melody is in the tenor, many of the melodies are familiar, and I can’t figure out how to read the shapes in order to sing the other parts. But women tenors are in high demand. And so it works :-D

For more information on Sacred Harp singing, go to http://fasola.org/