Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Cork Singing School

Camden Palace Hotel, Camden Quay, Cork City, Ireland

Friday, October 21, 2011

The class was called to order by Aldo Ceresa leading 101t.

Aldo thanked the organizers and offered some personal comments, then gave a brief introduction to the history, music, and practice of Sacred Harp singing. He continued by introducing the notes and rests on p. 15 (Rudiments) and the four shape notes on p. 18. The class practiced singing the major and minor scales.

Aldo pointed out the three “departments” of music in Sacred Harp: time, tune, and accent; and stressed the importance of accent in Sacred Harp singing. Aldo introduced the four voice parts and explained their placement in the hollow square. He then introduced the modes of time, again emphasizing the importance of accent, and encouraging singers to beat time while singing. He continued by leading 49t and 84, and encouraged the class not to stomp their feet.

Rob Wedgbury led 148. Aldo played a recording of 148 by the East Central Alabama Sacred Harp Singers as an example of good accent in 2/4 time, and explained repeat marks. The class sang 274t and 159, speaking the words first to practice the accented rhythm. Aldo pointed out that 4/4 is the most common time signature, and is the most important to learn when practicing accent. He then called 277 and relayed Buell Cobb’s story about an Alabama boy who came home from the American Civil War to a rejoicing father who thought the boy had been killed three years earlier. (Upon recognizing his son walking toward him, the boy’s father immediately began singing 277, “the dead’s alive and the lost is found”.)

Aldo advised the class to watch the leader and the front row tenors to avoiding speeding up the time, and explained the origins of tune names and the meanings of text meter indications. The class sang 277.


The class was called to order by Aldo Ceresa, leading 209. Aldo introduced the fuging tune, and the class continued to practice accenting in 4/4 time, singing 209 again. Eimear O’Donovan led 318. Aldo pointed out that basses are the anchors for good accent, especially in fuging tunes. He then instructed the class in how to bring in parts in fuging tunes, and encouraged leaders to beat time clearly. Rebecca Over led 567. Aldo instructed the class on how to indicate a repeat when leading, and gave advice on when to take repeats. Michael Walker and Pauline Hyde led 31t. Michael Walker led 67, and complimented the class for their fine singing. Aldo advised singers to be judicious in choosing verses and repeats, especially late in the day, and then thanked the class for their attention. Rob Wedgbury thanked the class, and announced the details for the Ireland All-Day Singing the following day.

Aldo invited new singers to join him in the square, and then led 472 as the closing song.