Recently, Rowman & Littlefield released the volume Christian Sacred Music in the Americas (2021). Andrew Shenton and I coedited the volume and had the great joy of working with many wonderful scholars. The publisher kindly offered me permission to share the full-text of my chapter on this site. Please feel free to read it and share with others who would find it useful. My chapter "Hymns of Joyful Praise: Sacred Harp Singing in Athens, Georgia" specifically addresses Athens, Georgia (and its surrounding counties) as an important node in the dissemination and performance of shape-note hymns.
As a university town surrounded by rural spaces, Athens, Georgia functions as a nexus both for traditional singing practices and for scholarly research into and publication of shape-note hymnals. The collaboration between scholars and singers created a feedback loop that strengthened and renewed the local practice of shape-note traditions. This study uses archival research and oral histories of local singers to explore the distinctive nature of the Athens area singings, focusing on key historical moments, individuals, and venues from the 19th century to the present.
There are several chapters in the book on shape-note hymn traditions, for those who are Sacred Harp practitioners or researchers. It also covers a wide variety of sacred music topics across the Americas, from chant traditions in Brazil to a study on a Choctaw hymnal. The publisher has also offered a 30% discount code for buying the volume through their site: RLFANDF30.
From their website:
Christian Sacred Music in the Americas explores the richness of Christian musical traditions and reflects the distinctive critical perspectives of the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music. This volume, edited by Andrew Shenton and Joanna Smolko, is a follow-up to SCSM’s Exploring Christian Song and offers a cross-section of the most current and outstanding scholarship from an international array of writers.
Joanna & Tim
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