On any Sunday afternoon a traveler through the Deep South might chance upon the rich, full sound of Sacred Harp singing. Aided with nothing but their own voices and the traditional shape-note songbook, Sacred Harp singers produce a sound that is unmistakableclear and full-voiced. Passed down from early settlers in the backwoods of the Southern Uplands, this religious folk tradition hearkens back to a simpler age when Sundays were a time for the Lord and the “singings.”
Illustrated with forty-one songs from the original songbook, The Sacred Harp is a comprehensive account of a unique form of folk music. Buell Cobb’s study encompasses the history of the songbook itself, an analysis of the music, and an intimate portrait of the singers who have kept alive a truly American tradition.
BUELL E. COBB is the author of Like Cords Around My Heart: A Sacred Harp Memoir and The Sacred Harp: A Tradition and Its Music. He taught English at West Georgia College (now the University of West Georgia) from 1969 to 1976. A longtime resident of Birmingham, he served as president of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company and, for fifteen years, as chair of the National Sacred Harp Singing Convention.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Brown Thrasher Edition
The Background and Early History
Traditional Sacred Harp Singings: Dates and Locations
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