Rivers of Delight / Folk Hymns
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Top Customer Reviews
American shape-note music with its freshness and durability, is the product of circumstances different from our own. It still survives and flourishes today in a variety of styles and places across the continental United States.
Shape-note music evolved with the 'singing school', an American institution dating back to the early 18th century. In Colonial days, traveling singing masters taught part-singing to townsfolk in a community activity that combined sacred and secular values.
The singing-school music was usually sung a cappela and in 3 or 4 parts-tenor(or melody), bass, treble, and usually alto or counter.
By the early 1800's, the music of New England tunesmiths-William Billings,Daniel Reed, Justin Morgan, and others-had spread throughout the Southern and Central states. There , together with folk hymns and camp-meeting songs, it formed the basis for a sturdy tradition of community singing and religious expression.
The 'Sacred Harp', first compiled in 1844 by two Georgians, Benjamin Franklyn White and his assistant E.J. King, is one of the richest collections of tunes; it is also one of the few shape-note books from that era still in print today.
The sound of Sacred Harp singing has several elements: The surging beat, the intonation of the singers, the minor-modal melodies, and the open harmonies. In the Sacred Harp tradition, mens's and women's voices double the tenor and treble parts, with men and women alone singing the bass and alto, respectively. Dynamics are sacrificed for a uniformly strong sound.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I ordered this recording I had great expectations for it as we have it also on LP. We were not disappointed. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Patricia T. Riblet
This is an amazing collection of old hymns, sung w/ beautiful voices in varied and compelling melodies. A must for lovers of authentic American song.Published 13 months ago by amazonite
If you own only one album in the Sacred Harp tradition, this should be the one. Unlike many "authentic" recordings, this chorus is composed of trained singers, and the... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Obie Juan Macoby
I had a landlord in Chapel Hill, NC who introduced me to this wonderful album. There's something almost hypnotic about the style - it's so intriguing! Read morePublished on March 13, 2013 by K. Emery
This is as good as Sacred Harp singing gets. The case was slightly smudged but the disk was spotless. I'll be giving as a Christmas gift.Published on December 11, 2012 by A School Teacher
Like many, I was first introduced to Sacred Harp music through the music on the Cold Mountain soundtrack. Read morePublished on January 30, 2006 by A. Balcazar
Words cannot explain the power of this recording. There is something beautiful about shapenote singing, yet it is also a little eerie and unsettling in its deliberate atonality. Read morePublished on January 7, 2004 by Deborah Adenan