Charlotte Sacred Harp Singers



Welcome to the home page of the Charlotte Sacred Harp Singers!  We offer many topics for you to read and enjoy.  Come back to visit our web page any time -- and come visit us at a Sacred Harp Singing! 



Our singing schedule is a bit irregular at this time.

Please check our Facebook group for information about upcoming singings.


 ** Also visit us on our Facebook Page!  Click here.**


What Is Sacred Harp Singing?

Sacred Harp is a form of a cappella (unaccompanied) singing unique to America.  This type of singing has been passed down from generation to generation since the 1700s, having been rooted in colonial "singing schools".  Sacred Harp singings are not performances; all are encouraged to participate as singers, though visitors are always welcome to participate as listeners.  

Sacred Harp singing is closely related to Christian Harmony, Southern Harmony, and Old Harp/New Harp singing.  The term "sacred harp" refers to the most holy instrument of all -- the human voice.

For more information about the history of Sacred Harp singing, visit Fasola or Wikipedia.   


When and Where Are the Charlotte Sacred Harp Singings?

Charlotte Sacred Harp Singings currently occur on an irregular basis.  We sing from the tunebook The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition, and occasionally from other books such as The Shenandoah Harmony.  Singing does not require auditions or great talent -- just enthusiasm!

Click here to see photos of some Charlotte Sacred Harp singings.


When and Where Are Other Sacred Harp Singings?

There are often other singing opportunities, both locally, regionally, and nationally.  Check these links for more scheduled Sacred Harp singings:


What Does Sacred Harp Singing Sound Like?

Sacred Harp singing is four-part acappella -- treble, alto, tenor (lead), and bass -- with male and female voices often singing each part, an octave apart.  Some songs are hymns, some are anthems, and others are fugues, with each part taking the lead occasionally during the song.  Many songs are in minor keys. 

Here are links to some mp3s of Sacred Harp singing:

And here is some video footage:


Why Are the Notes Different Shapes?

Sacred Harp books use "shaped" notation, where the note head shows the musical interval.  There are several systems of shaped notation; Sacred Harp uses a four-shape system, with FA-SO-LA-MI intervals defined.  


A Sacred Harp scale is Fa-So-La-Fa-So-La-Mi-Fa, in contrast to the (more familiar)   Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do scale.  Sacred Harp singers typically sing the Fa-So-La-Mi syllables before singing the words to a song.


How Can I Learn More?

There are several good internet resources about Sacred Harp music.  Here are a few to get started:

But the best way to learn about Sacred Harp singing is to come and sing with us!  We'll hope to see you soon!

Historical notes:  In 2007, Dr. Walter Hartley and Catherine Sullivan established the Charlotte Sacred Harp group, with a monthly singing at St, Michael's in Charlotte.  The group grew rapidly and was able to host an all-day singing at the Archdale church of Christ in 2009.  Sadly, due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances, both medical and otherwise, the group disbanded in 2010; however, the website was maintained and a Facebook group was created.  In 2017, spearheaded by Matt Drumheller, a group of singers has started to meet occasionally, though on a somewhat irregular basis.  The COVID pandemic posed additional challenges for regular meetings. For current information about the group's activities, please check the Facebook group.

Enjoy YouTube videos from our 2009 Annual Singing and 2008 singing at Latta Plantation, produced and edited by Michael Johnston.

Click here to go directly to the Charlotte Sacred Harp video channel, or watch the individual videos on the Videos page.


Click here for memories from the 2009 Singing
Annual Singing Index Page

Enjoy a new composition for Sacred Harp, created by our own Michael Johnson, to honor Walter Hartley (one of our founding singers).  Michael has said "Please print and distribute this to anyone who might like to see it and hopefully sing it."

Thanks, Michael, for sharing your talent!

Click here for PDF of The Hosanna (Hartley tune).  Click here for computer-generated .mp3 audio file.



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