Introduction to Sacred Harp shape note singing

Sacred Harp singing is much more than an interesting repertoire of early American three and four part a cappella folk music. It is a living tradition that treads an unbroken path prior to the Civil War and whose music can be directly traced as a distinct musical thread back beyond the American Revolution, through to rural England, back to Reformation psalmody and beyond to Renaissance polyphony.

This introduction will try and provide a concise introduction to both the musical, historical and current traditional aspects of this prized folkway.

Further Reading

The best hard copy source for this information is Buell Cobb's book The Sacred Harp: A Tradition and its Music