Category Archives: Of Harmony and Composition

Articles unpacking the inner workings of Sacred Harp songs.

Bound Together: What Makes an Effective Pairing of Text and Tune

In a skillfully composed [nineteenth-century American] composition, the whole acquired a larger significance not foreseeable by merely reading the words or examining the air. —Nicholas E. Tawa1 Why do the text and tune of certain Sacred Harp songs go so well … Continue reading

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The “Stacked Fourths” Chord: A Canonical Discord in The Sacred Harp

The rudiments of The Sacred Harp and other shape-note tunebooks have traditionally categorized the intervals between any two degrees of the scale, or dyads, as either concords, “which produce harmony when sounded together,” or discords, “which, when sounded together, produce … Continue reading

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Help Me to Sing: Raymond Hamrick as Composer and Teacher

Raymond Hamrick was a master craftsman. For close to eight decades, he worked as a jeweler repairing watches at Andersen’s Jewelers. For most of those years, he also used this eye for detail to craft and teach the art of … Continue reading

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The Variety of Influence: Forms of Craftsmanship in the 1960 Edition

Introduction The Original Sacred Harp: Denson Revision, 1960 Edition,1 produced by an august music committee consisting of A. M. Cagle (chairman), H. N. McGraw, T. B. McGraw, Elmer Kitchens, Hugh McGraw, and Ruth Denson Edwards and edited by Owel Denson, … Continue reading

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