MP3 files for MOST Sacred Harp songs         Site map

Materials for Learning to Read Shape Notes

Handout #1 -- Introduction
webpage: Introduction and Musical Intervals.
(Introduction to singing in the major key.)

doc file: The above material in a .doc file
doc file: With input from other singers (.doc file)

Handout #2 -- Sacred Harp Minor Key
Introduction to Minor Key (.doc file).
List of songs in the Sacred Harp Minor Key ("Dorian mode").
Recommended songs for beginners

Intermediate level
Learning materials for difficult Sacred Harp songs.

Utilizing your existing skills: Tacit knowledge

Most of us have strong memories of childhood songs. Since the brain already has deeply-encoded essential information about intervals, melodies, and timing, this existing knowledge can be used to "map" new sight-singing skills. (This is a new section the website, started on July 16, 2011.)

PDF files
Lavender's Blue (bass)
Mulberry Bush (bass)
My Darling Clementine (tenor)
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (tenor)
Greensleeves (tenor)
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Old King Cole (tenor) (and with MIDI)

Utilizing your existing skills: Pitch

Children have a good biological sense of pitch: at our church, they get up and sing in key without anyone giving them their starting pitch. But the noises of civilization and the tinkling of tempered pianos takes this away from us. Here is the difference between a human voice and a tempered piano. The solution is to call slow songs (e.g. Boylston #147t, Ortonville #68b, Federal Street #515b); makes sure that whoever leads it keeps the tempo slow enough for you listen intensely to the harmonies.

However delicate and well-tuned, the harp cannot really harmonize with human voices (2.15 minutes).
Guitar and zither vs biological harmonies (2.01 minutes).
Just intonation demonstrated on YouTube (3.55 minutes; relevant until timepoint 2:40).
Pure voices (in French (5:16 minutes) forest and meadow scenery.
Pure voices (in Austrian German) (2:01 minutes) Alpine waterfall.

Links to other websites

Link to Karen Willard's workbook.
Prepared in cooperation with David I. Lee. Includes audio files (AIF) and MP3 files, as well as a 45-page booklet in PDF format that can be printed out.

Three Oranges Website (materials used in San Francisco Bay Area workshops).

Charles Wells website (no learning materials in particular; but informative in general).

Find a regular Local Shape Note singing near you (in USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, England).

Back to Culver City singing main page.

More information on Shape Note Singing in general
Contact: David Olson (310) 410-9033 for more details.

Singing location: 4427 Overland Avenue, Culver City, California
Close to "The Spot Cafe & Lounge"