“The Sacred Harp” is the name of the book we sing from.
It is often said that the sacred harp is a metaphor for the human voice.
The collection was first published in 1844, in Georgia, USA, and is part of a communal singing tradition that includes music that is much older, as well as more recent compositions. This type of music is also called Shape Note Music – what that means will be explained below. A good starting point might be to choose a song to help you understand the basics.
Probably the first thing a listener will notice is that we are all not trained singers (although trained voices do often end up singing with us). Sacred Harp recalls the days when church music was still sung by the congregation and not by a choir. We sing because it’s fun! Although listeners are welcome, it is not really a spectator sport – there is no audience/performer divide in Sacred Harp singing – everyone is invited to join. All you need to be able to sing Sacred Harp is a desire to sing Sacred Harp.