Monday, July 23, 2012

Shape Note and Sacred Harp Singing

Couple of folks have asked about Jesse singing Sacred Harp songs in the cave, wanting to know what that meant.  Sacred Harp music, a type of "shape note" singing, was and is a distinctly Southern kind of 
a cappella group singing. It was not done for performance in front of an audience, but instead was done for the sheer joy of of it.

Have a look at some of these links, they show some good examples of what the "sings" that Lily dragged her reluctant brother to might have sounded like, and what type of songs might have been sung.

 Alabama Sacred Harp Singers - Present Joys

Northern Harmony Shape Note

Sacred Harp 189: Montgomery

This last one is a trailer for an indie film that I must see. Like now. I didn't know about this, I stumbled on it looking for good links on You Tube. Time to check and see if it's on Roku. You can actually see glimpses of the "shape note" music sheets used in the singing on this trailer. 

"Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp" Movie Trailer

In case you're wondering, Jesse is a baritone. There's no baritone section in Sacred Harp, so he'd probably sing with the tenors.  In the scene in chapter 141, where he's singing "fa so la" is probably how he'd warm up and practice his pitch.



Melissa said...

Ooh, I have to check those links out later. I love that kind of stuff.

Also, I like that you know just what voice part Jesse sings. :) I thought me and Britt were the only ones who sit and decide what voice parts our characters sing, even if they never do sing in the story!

Regina said...

Oh, no, believe me. I know exactly how these people sound. I literally hear their voices in my heads.

My friends have mocked my attention to detail. :-DDDD I actually have maps of places in the story floating around my desk. The yard, the garden, the house.

The contents of various drawers and trunks and cabinets.

It's a sickness. Seriously.

Jesse's got a nice voice, but ought to hear Wash. Wash could be in Celtic Thunder or something. He's this gorgeous, soul-tearing tenor of the sort that can make you see heaven and cry for no apparent reason.

The tragedy is that hardly anyone knows this.

And Luis can sing, too, he was a really good boy soprano when he was younger, although that's pretty much gone now. He can only hit those notes when he's sufficiently freaked out. Then his voice breaks. This is most likely to happen in front of someone he'd rather not witness it.

Melissa said...

I think I may be the only one who can understand this! We have maps too, of entire houses! We talk about what everyone's favorite foods are, even if it's never mentioned.

Ohhh man, don't tell me that, it'll give me an even bigger crush on Wash than I already have!

Regina said...

See, personally, I think that's cool. Doesn't it make it so much more real that way?

And when it's that real, isn't it so much easier to keep it all straight and write about it? ;-)

Wash. Yeah. As if those long, rangy legs and miles-wide shoulders weren't enough...

Anonymous said...

All writers get that way, often enough. It's better than the other way, getting everything all fuddled in your head.


Gina Shelley said...

True, true. I get time fuddled up, but I don't confuse my characters. They're practically like family members crowding up my house at this point.