Baylor Center for Christian Music Studies Orchestrates Annual Sacred Sing Event

Sacred Harp Sing
"The Sacred Harp" hymnal book with shape-note guide. Photo is courtesy of the Baylor Center for Christian Music Studies.
Feb. 5, 2015

Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Feb. 5, 30) – Don’t be fooled by the title, “Sacred Harp Sing.”

The annual sing event is not centered on a stringed instrument, but rather a shape-noted hymnal book dating back to the mid-1840s titled, “The Sacred Harp.” Hosted by Baylor’s Center for Christian Music Studies, the annual Baylor Sacred Harp sing will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, in the Great Hall of George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

“It’s a musical event that’s unlike anything else,” said David Music, Ph.D., professor of church music in the Baylor School of Music. “It’s a cross between choral and congregational singing. Everyone participates, yet it has different elements. It has a unique sound to it because of the way the music is written and sung.”

Among the folk hymns within “The Sacred Harp” are familiar tunes such as “Amazing Grace,” “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship” and “What Wondrous Love Is This.” What makes Sacred Harp sing stylistically different is its use of shape-note singing. Before lyrics are added, singers are lead through the hymnals using the syllables “fa so la,” each corresponding to a shape.

“Anyone can get up and lead any song they want. Sometimes leaders are young children and sometimes they are ancient adults. It’s very democratic,” Music said.

The Sacred Harp hymnal was first published by B.F. White and E.J. King in 1844. Sacred Heart sing is considered to be an important preservation of the nation’s musical heritage and a critical look into how people in the 19th century learned to sing, Music said.

The event is free and open to the public.

The George W. Truett Theological Seminary is located at 1100 S. Third St. in Waco.

by Sarah Czerwinski, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The Baylor University School of Music provides transformational experiences that prepare students for careers in music. Our students thrive in a Christian environment characterized by a nurturing resident faculty, an unwavering pursuit of musical excellence, a global perspective, dedication to service, and devotion to faith. They investigate the rich musical and cultural heritage of the past, develop superior musical skills and knowledge in the present, and explore and create new modes of musical expression for the future. While preparing for future leadership roles, the students join with School of Music faculty in enhancing the quality of community life, enriching the larger culture, and making Baylor a place in which heart, mind and soul coalesce. The School of Music of Baylor University is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music and the Texas Association of Music Schools. Degree programs leading to the bachelor of music education degree conform to certification requirements of the Texas Education Agency.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?