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Thursday, November 29, 2007

New book on Sacred Harp

Traveling Home: Sacred Harp Singing and American Pluralism by Kiri Miller is now available from the University of Illinois Press (ISBN 0252032144). Kiri is an assistant professor of music at Brown University. In 2002 she edited The Chattahoochee Musical Convention, 1852-2002: A Sacred Harp Historical Sourcebook, and authored the American Music article "First Sing the Notes: Oral and Written Traditions in Sacred Harp Transmissions" (Volume 22, No. 4 Winter 2004 475-501). This new book is a version of her 2005 PhD dissertation (A Long Time Traveling: Song, Memory, and the Politics of Nostalgia in the Sacred Harp Diaspora) -- though Kiri says it is "shorter and a bit more user-friendly."

"A powerful musical practice that has drawn together a diverse and far-flung community, Sacred Harp singing has roots in the American South and flourishing branches in New England, the Midwest, and on the West Coast. It has served as an emblem of American history in twenty-first century popular media, including the Oscar-winning film Cold Mountain. Meanwhile, the advent of internet discussion boards and increasing circulation of singer-produced recordings have changed the nature of traditional transmission and sharpened debates about Sacred Harp as an "authentic" form of Southern musical expression. Blending historical scholarship with wide-ranging fieldwork, Kiri Miller presents an engagingly written study of a musical movement that some have christened 'a quintessential expression of American democracy'." -- From the University of Illinois Press web site

8 comments:

Unknown said...

I don't know if you got a chance to read her dissertation, but it's quite good.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Will, I have a PDF file somewhere. It was so long I didn't want to read it on the computer screen, and I never got around to printing it. This new book and your recommendation together have encouraged me to look it up, print out the dissertation and read it.

Anonymous said...

If you had no Sacred Harp songbooks, and you were going to ask for one for Christmas, which one would you ask for?

R. L. Vaughn said...

Karen, that's a tough question. I'll have to think about it a bit.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Well, I guess if I had no Sacred Harp songbooks at all, I would have to ask for a 2006 B.F. White Sacred Harp (Cooper Book), since that is the book we use the most to sing from in this area. I think my second choice would be either a 1902 Revised Sacred Harp by W.M. Cooper, or an 1844 Sacred Harp by B.F. White and E.J. King. These two have seemed to me to be the hardest to find.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the list!

R. L. Vaughn said...

Karen, how close are you to Oklahoma City? There is a man there interested in organizing a Sacred Harp singing.

Anonymous said...

Several hours away.
But it would be interesting to attend such a singing.