A Day Is Coming 2. Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul 3. Gone to the Grave 4. I Will Know Him 5. Once I Had a Glorious View 6. Sands of Time 7.
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Shed a Beam of Heavenly Day 8. Song in the Air 9. Spirit of God Sweet Rivers of Redeeming Love Cheeeek that out dude. Lead RIFFs:. Bad selection.
Save Cancel. Really delete this comment? Sweet Rivers of Redeeming Love Modify Sands of Time Provided. Pacific Gold. Lyrics Album list News Related Video Pacific Gold Sweet Rivers of Redeeming Love In shadows of the night, faith mounts the upper sky Behold my heart's delight, I would rejoice to die, Rise above my pain, cross death's cold stormy main With joy out strip the wind, And leave this world of sin behind… Sweet rivers of redeeming love Through ages still untold, we'll tune our harps of gold And let their praises ring to our eternal king Sweet rivers of redeeming love Through anguish, pain and smart, To where love surrounds my heart Previous Page Mojim.
Entrance into this inner sanctuary requires no ordination, nor are there restrictions based on age, race, or gender in current practice. Adherence to specific creeds or the lack of formal profession of Christian faith does not restrict access. The sacred does not inhere in an altar, a sacrament, or a church building. The priority is that the room be "live" and conducive to the sound.
Where they gather, the singers create the space. The uniqueness of Sacred Harp space evokes its origins in colonial American singing schools which sought to broaden musical education. By mid-nineteenth century, shape note music had lost out in northern urban areas to more modern styles. The publication of The Sacred Harp signified the successful migration of the music and the singing school to white yeoman-farming areas in several southern regions. Although early on the leading of songs tended to be restricted to male singers who were proficient in the music Cobb , , Sacred Harp singings welcomed participants from any protestant denomination.
The egalitarianism at the heart of the tradition may help explain the resurgence in popularity that this music has enjoyed. New singers, especially in urban areas or on university campuses where traditional styles are unfamiliar, easily learn to sing together. The physical structures where singers have sung Sacred Harp have helped shape their musical tastes.
Veterans prefer square, wooden buildings such as rural churches and schoolhouses. The pastoral lyrics provide continuity between many participants' rural experience and the image of heaven the songs describe. And, although the tradition is portable, many of the sites for annual singings become touchstones for dispersed individuals and families.
The notion of "homecoming" suggests a return while implying the dispersions and disruptions of modernity and urbanization. Outside of the southeast, singings are especially prominent in New England and in the states along the West Coast, as well as in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan [see Singings Map ]. England is home to frequent singings, and singings can be found in eastern Canada.
The Sacred Harp is open to any and all willing to seek out the hollow square. Most of the sound clips in this essay feature the Wootten family from the Sand Mountain region of Alabama. These performances aired in on the radio show Folk Masters , recorded at the Barns of Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, and produced and hosted by folklorist Nick Spitzer. Woodruff Library Fellowship which enabled me to research and write this essay.
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James B. Shape Note Bibliography — by John Bealle. This extensive bibliography includes works directly related to Sacred Harp as well as works helpful for establishing its historical and religious context; the bibliography is particularly strong on Protestant hymnody. Sacred Harp Singing The official website of the Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association, this website includes general information about Sacred Harp singing and provides easy access to lists and minutes of singings.
Steel also keeps an updated list of Sacred Harp singings that occur throughout the United States, England, and Canada. Sabol, boasts numerous short descriptions of tune books, books related to Sacred Harp, and especially sound and video recordings. Skip to main content. Southern Spaces. Search form Search.
Stormy Banks and Sweet Rivers: A Sacred Harp Geography
Emory University. Introduction On a warm Saturday in early summer, a crowd gathers at a white-washed church in rural Alabama. As they begin to sing, a sound rises that is overwhelming in volume and intensity. The lyrics speak of the transience of life on earth and express a longing for a more joyous existence in the next world.
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The music has a haunting quality, with plaintive tones and a sound that to the uninitiated might seem more at home in medieval or renaissance Europe than in the US South. The crowd will sing from in the morning until about three in the afternoon, and they will use only one songbook— The Sacred Harp. C major scale in shape notes, four-shape system of the Sacred Harp. From Wikipedia. What gives Sacred Harp singing its haunting, ancient sound? In Sacred Harp music, the tenor part may carry the melody, but each of the other parts bass, alto, treble have important roles. Composers also make use of parallel fifths, in which an interval of a fifth is employed consecutively, and Sacred Harp composers consider two notes, often fifths, sufficient for a chord.
Sacred Harp music includes unique performance practices. For example, all songs are sung loudly. Participants sing virtually at the top of their voices, though the falling and rising of the leader's arm can indicate where accents should be placed. Music composed in this style may feature dispersed harmony, in which the parts cross over each other rather than running parallel.
Both the tenor and treble sections include men and women, creating the effect of a six-part, rather than a four-part, harmony. Sacred Harp music frequently includes fuging tunes, which incorporate a technique similar to singing in rounds. The different parts enter at different intervals as they repeat a line.
Title page of the fourth edition of The Sacred Harp , published in Empty church with pews arranged for Sacred Harp singing. Image courtesy of Matt and Erica Hinton. Leading a song means far more to Sacred Harp singers than the opportunity to select a favorite piece of music. Standing in the hollow square, the leader is at the center of the space where all the sound converges. Singers consistently emphasize that the experience of the music is most powerful from the hollow square. The rotation of song leaders throughout the day suggests the democratic impulses at the heart of the tradition.
Sacred Harp music caught on most strongly in areas inhabited by yeoman farmers rather than those places in the South dominated by large plantations. The minutes kept by the early singing conventions reveal attention to democratic process Cobb , The music is sung a cappella ; the "Sacred Harp" refers to the human voice raised in song. Since everyone has this sacred harp, participation is open to all. The songs themselves have deep roots among the folk. Many of the tunes and some of the lyrics that made it into The Sacred Harp were the compositions of unschooled farmers who sang the music, and today, some devotees continue to compose using original principles and practices.
Other songs derive from the improvised group singings that occurred at camp meetings Cobb , ; Pen Although the lyrics of many songs come from the pens of Isaac Watts , Charles Wesley , and John Newton , tunes may be the work of a farmer recalling fiddle melodies Pen ; Cobb , ; for more detail on this topic, see Horn. Ultimately, tracing the authorship of songs in The Sacred Harp is tricky business, since many of the ascriptions are inaccurate. Sacred Harp singers use a narrow range of dynamics — every song should be loud.
And with their unique performance practices comes a distinct taste in performance spaces. Singers prefer the small, wooden, country churches similar to those that would have nourished this music in its infancy. The walls are unadorned, surfaces should be hard, and the floors should not be carpeted.
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A square building with relatively low ceilings serves the acoustical tastes of these singers better than vaulted ceilings Pen Concert halls engineered for modern tastes may be used at times or for special performances, but they are not preferred. Sacred Harp singers do not spend the entire day inside the confines of the church. Around midday they break for dinner on the grounds. Spread over several tables, a sumptuous potluck meal, usually eaten outside, awaits the singers.
Mississippi artist Ethel Mohamed vividly captured images of activities both inside and outside the church building through her embroidery and reminiscences.
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When a singing is held at a rural church, the cemetery on the church grounds often becomes another focal space, especially for singers with local ties. Singings often coincide with the homecoming of a congregation or family, when the widely dispersed return to renew acquaintances and pay tribute to ancestors by decorating their graves see: " Sacred Harp Singings ".