In order to get the best results in Harmony possible, the committee respectfully offers the following suggestions.
First: Be sure to pitch the songs properly. For this duty select some brother for the day, and let others keep silent.
Second: Sing according to time. Give measured notes full time, and observe rests in all instances.
Third: Do not sing too loudly. The fault of too loud singing may be avoided to a great extent by pitching music properly.
Fourth: Never sing alto in the high voice. There is no symphony whatever in such singing. Boys may sing alto, and the ladies may sing alto in the grave voice. It will be better for men not to try to sing this part unless they sing it in the grave voice.
-- W. M. Cooper, The B. F. White Sacred Harp, 1960 (but found in earlier editions; probably as early as 1902 or 1907)