About Song Use Statistics

The song use statistics page shows how the Minutes Book team used its database of singing minutes from 1995-present to determine how often songs are sung during singings large enough to keep minutes.

We only considered songs in The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition (aka the Denson Book). First, we made an effort to identify singings that used the Denson Book exclusively (roughly 89% of singings — as of 2005, this was 2,021 out of 2,240 singings).

Then we used a computer program to try to identify the song numbers within the minutes of those singings. You can see which songs were used in these statistics when you search or browse the minutes online. You will notice:

We would like to hear about errors in mis-identifying non-Denson singings as Denson singings.

Note: for mixed singings, if the secretary follows the guidelines for submitting minutes, non-Denson songs will be listed with an abbreviation for the book name in parentheses after each song number, for example: 40 (CB). We will count the Denson songs in minutes that follow this requested notation.

Frequently Asked Questions

In 1995, two songs are ranked as #5, and there is no #6. Why?
Those two songs are tied for 5th place since they have the same count, so they are given the same rank.
Why are songs 24t, 24b, and 25 not linked to lyrics?
Those items are part of the Rudiments, not actual edited musical selections. They are included in the statistics because people do occasionally lead them.
Why are there no statistics for the Cooper Book?
Most of the minutes pertain to the Denson book. We would be very happy to share the underlying data with anyone wishing to count song use for Cooper Book singings.
Does anyone plan to actually use this data?
Every 20-30 years, the Music Committee of the Denson book will consider song use frequency in deciding which songs to drop from the book to make room for new songs.
Should we try harder to sing songs in the Top 40 or Top 100?
Absolutely not. Sing whatever you are moved to sing.
Should we try harder to sing songs in the Bottom 40 or Bottom 100?
Absolutely not. Sing whatever you are moved to sing. Please do not try to intentionally distort the statistics by leading unpopular songs you would not otherwise have chosen. You will only be making the work of the Music Committee more difficult.
I would like to see breakdowns by geographic region / state / singing size / etc.
We will be happy to make the raw data available to you so you can produce your own analysis.