World Wednesdays: Sacred Harp

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by Otenth Paderborn on Wednesday, 4 November, 2009

Sacred Harp or shapenote singing is a distinctive American musical form. Related to other solfege, or named note, systems used in Europe, the Sacred Harp developed in the 19th century as a way of teaching music in communities that lacked musical instruments.

This week’s World Wednesdays program will give listeners a taste of a traditional Sacred Harp singing session, featuring a selection of tunes from the Sacred Harp and other shapenote hymnals–including some non-traditional interpretations. The four-note fa-so-la-mi solfege system will be explained. The recordings will include an introductory prayer, and there will be a live “memorial lesson” to remember those who are gone.

World Wednesdays, an informal exploration of traditional music with presenter Otenth Paderborn, occurs weekly from 6–7pm SLT in The Clarendon Conservatory in New Babbage, or listen at


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