Charts and graphs, oh my!

Jul 13, 2012 by

Being a mathematically-inclined person, I’m always interested in the stories one can tease out of data…  Now that we’ve got the book mostly mapped out, I made a chart displaying the first publication dates of the songs.  Each dot in the chart represents a song.  Given that we started with the Kentucky Harmony and its Supplement, you’d think that the most common year would be, say, 1816 or 1825.  However, the majority of the tunes Davisson published were from earlier authors.  The longest line of dots is for the year 1793, the publication of Shumway’s American Harmony and Stone’s Columbian Harmony, both of which are well represented in The Shenandoah Harmony. It’s quite interesting to compare the song profile of The Shenandoah Harmony with a similar chart displaying songs in The Sacred Harp (1991).  (Thanks to Ian Quinn...

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Semi-weekly, Thursday: Singing in Cambridge...

Jul 11, 2012 by

A new singing in Cambridge, MA will occasionally include some songs from The Shenandoah Harmony. Singings are held twice monthly, 7-9:30pm at Harvard Divinity School. Sign up for the mailing list at BostonSacredHarp.org for updates and more information, or contact...

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“One of the most beautiful of those old minors”...

Jul 6, 2012 by

In the early stages of working on The Shenandoah Harmony, we jokingly titled the project The Mostly Minor Melodeon because, try as we might, we couldn’t escape the fact that the songs we had chosen were overwhelmingly minor! The editions of The Kentucky Harmony and The Tennessee Harmony are roughly 60% minor; even the early editions of The Easy Instructor are over 50% minor. As our book has evolved, we’ve added songs from other sources; the finished book will have about 52% minor songs. For comparison, The Sacred Harp (1991) is only 28% minor, though I’ve heard that the actual balance of songs called in singings is less heavily skewed. In addition to these statistics, there is plenty of evidence that minor songs were all the rage in the early nineteenth century. Here’s a...

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