Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 17 October 2019

Shape-note hymnodylocked

  • Harry Eskew
  • , revised by James C. Downey

Extract

A body of rural American sacred music published in any of several musical notations in which a note head of a certain shape is assigned to each of the solmization syllables fa, sol, la, mi (in the four-syllable ‘fasola’ system) or do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si or ti. Most shape notations (also sometimes called ‘buckwheat’, ‘character’ or ‘patent’ notations) employ key signatures, deploy the notes on a five-line staff and use the rhythm signs of conventional notation (see Notation, §III, 5). They are intended to help singers with little musical expertise to sing at sight without having to recognize pitches on the staff or understand the key system.

The shape-note tradition originated early in the 19th century and flourished among many whites and some blacks, particularly in the South and Midwest, where it still survives, and furnished the principal printed sources of folk hymns and white spirituals. A later 19th-century offshoot formed an important branch of white gospel music....

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to access the full content.

Musical Quarterly
Journal of Research in Music Education