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January 13, 2009


Amanda from Knit Night

Did you know that there's a shape note singing group on Ravelry? FYI


What do the shapes of the notes mean? It appears that they are on the conventional music staff and that they are eighth, quarter, half and whole notes. What is the deal with the shapes??



The shapes are associated with the syllables of a modified solfege scale, "fa" the triangle, "so" the round, "la" the square and "mi" the diamond. The major scale runs fa-so-la-fa-so-la-mi and back to fa. The point is to make it easier for singers, especially singers previously untrained in reading notation, to quickly sightread any tune by recognizing the scale relationships. Pitch isn't fixed in shape-note singings, by the way, so the fact that the starting Las of "Clamanda" are written as two Bs and an E isn't important. What counts is their La-ness.

(Hope you don't mind this shapenote-lecture interruption, by the way. Shapenote singers tend to be eager to evangelize -- purely musically in my case, I assure you.)


OH!!! Synchronicity. I want to learn shapenote singing, having heard it in Holdemann Mennonite churches. I just don't know of any groups (barring the mennonites, the group of which I know are 6 hrs away, and the nearest group more than an hour...)

Any help? (I"m in Alberta, Canada, btw)

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