Sacred Harp or Shape Note Singing

Sacred Harp singing is an American tradition of sacred choral music that originated in New England around 1770 and was later carried on in the American South of the United States especially under the influence of the revival services of the 1840s. Its earliest roots are in country parishes of England. The name is derived from The "Sacred Harp," 1844, a historically important tunebook printed in shape notes.

Sacred Harp music is performed a cappella and the singing is participatory rather than a performance to listen to with singers seated by voice in a hollow square. Singings today are sometimes all day affairs with shared meals. Shape note singings have crossed back over the Atlantic and today there are singings in Germany, Norway, Ireland, Paris, and Israel. A new generation has embraced the tradition.

In the Atlanta area there are three regular singings with others scattered across the state. Read about the tradition in Georgia at atlantasacredharp.org

Holy Trinity Parish, the second Tuesday of each month, 7-9 p.m., in the Parish Hall, entrance on Sycamore Lane, Decatur.


Emory Presbyterian Church, first Thursdays except December, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., in the fellowship building, 1886 North Decatur Road, 30307.


Church of Our Saviour, third Sundays, mini-singing school from 6-6:25 p.m., singing from 6:30-8:30, Garrison Hall (the building opposite the main sanctuary entrance) 1068 North Highland Ave., 30306.

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