Eighth Annual 'Sacred Harp Sing' to be Held Feb. 7

Feb. 3, 2009

by Lillyan Baker, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University will host the eighth annual Sacred Harp Sing at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, in in the Piper Great Hall of George W. Truett Theological Seminary on the Baylor campus.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is a 160-year-old southern folk hymn tradition. Sacred Harp Sing uses shape-note notation and "fa-sol-la" syllables named after the Sacred Harp, a tune book compiled in 1844 by B.F. White and E.J. King. Participants will use the 1991 edition of the Sacred Harp.

"The songs in [the Sacred Harp] are in shape notes, with a different shape and syllable assigned to each pitch of the musical scale," explained Dr. David Music, professor of church music at Baylor. "Most of the songs have religious texts, and many of them are familiar hymns, such as 'Amazing Grace' and 'What Wondrous Love is This.'"

In 2000, the Sacred Harp Sing began at Baylor when several veteran Sacred Harp singers decided to bring a sing event to the Baylor campus. The following year, the Baylor Center for Christian Music Studies took over sponsorship.

"This is a bit of American musical heritage that is becoming more widespread all the time," Music said. "Once restricted to the Southern states, Sacred Harp sings are now found in California, Chicago, New England, and even Great Britain. Though originating among Protestants, it has become popular with all sorts of people, including Roman Catholics, Jews and atheists."

The Baylor sing will be preceded by a brief tutorial known as "singing school" at 9:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided for the participants.

For more information, contact Music at (254) 710-2360 or David_Music@baylor.edu.

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