Traveling Home, Sacred Harp Singing and American Pluralism: Introduction

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Product Description:

Traveling Home is a compelling account of how the vibrant musical tradition of Sacred Harp singing brings together Americans of widely divergent religious and political beliefs. Named after the most popular of the nineteenth-century shape-note tune-books which employed an innovative notation system to teach singers to read music Sacred Harp singing has been part of rural southern life for more than 150 years and has recently attracted new singers from all over America. Blending historical scholarship with wide-ranging fieldwork, Kiri Miller presents an engagingly written study of this important music movement. Kiri Miller is an assistant professor of music at Brown University and the editor of The Chattahoochee Musical Convention, 1852-2002: A Sacred Harp Historical Source book.

Surely, some of you remember singing out of those shaped-note hymnals at Church some time ago. I grew up on the shape notes found in the Jimmie Davis hymnal, signing with fire and points, but that was the way we did it. It was a rural church, and indeed, in West Virginia, we had them too. Shape Notes. Told us what to point. What to highlight. How to sing.

Even for those of us who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

Anyway, I am reading this book for review, and since it is one of my favorite types of music, I thought I might start to talk about it.

For those of you who may be interested, you can download songs in this genre (for a fee of course) from Amazon.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

2 thoughts on “Traveling Home, Sacred Harp Singing and American Pluralism: Introduction

  1. Interesting music style. My friend sings in an a cappella choir, and I know how great it sounds.

    Cold Mountain though, is one of my least favourite movies. It’s a pretty depressing story from what I can recall.

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