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Joyful Noise
May 24, 2009 5:55 AM   Subscribe

Pilgrim Productions Presents: Voices Across America, an archive of gospel music in a variety of genres, submitted for free play and download by church groups and folk and traditional groups across the country and beyond. Style, age, and quality vary greatly, but fans of noncommercial music will enjoy hunting for the gems of blues, Cajun, bluegrass, choral, shapenote, country, vintage, and mountain gospel and more.
posted by Miko (15 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you, Miko!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:25 AM on May 24, 2009


EXCELLENT post. Thank you. I've always thought that black gospel made me, in the style of that one Onion article, want to believe in God. White people gospel, however, makes me want to worship at the feet of the Dark Lord. Go figure.
posted by John of Michigan at 6:57 AM on May 24, 2009


I'm not well-versed in musical theory, so maybe someone who is can clarify something for me: am I hearing a lot of consecutive fifths in the shapenote singing? It sounds like it, to my untrained ear, and that's pretty awesome. Especially given the early Middle Ages church controversy with those arrangements.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:25 AM on May 24, 2009


I'm not well-versed in musical theory, so maybe someone who is can clarify something for me: am I hearing a lot of consecutive fifths in the shapenote singing? It sounds like it, to my untrained ear, and that's pretty awesome. Especially given the early Middle Ages church controversy with those arrangements.

Yes, you are. The arrangements, many of them, have stronger roots in folk harmony singing than in classical church music, and there are loads of open fifths and octaves. (I saw a website recently for a shape note singing that referred to them as "power chords.")

In the nineteenth century, those arrangements got a lot of flak from well-meaning so-called progressives for being "unscientific" and not following the "rules" of proper composition. That campaign against them is apparently part of why they began to fall out of use in bigger cities and the Northeast, and only hung on in Appalachia and the rural South.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:11 AM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


THONKS!
posted by onkelchrispy at 8:49 AM on May 24, 2009


Shape note city! This is going to make my memorial weekend. Thanks!
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 9:02 AM on May 24, 2009


Great find! Thanks for posting. I enjoyed the Amazing Grace sung in Choctaw, among others.
posted by RussHy at 9:02 AM on May 24, 2009


I want to favorite this post ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun! Thank you!
posted by trip and a half at 9:31 AM on May 24, 2009


If you happen to be in St. Louis, or are driving through the area on a weekend, try to catch Slim Cox and his wife Zella Mae somewhere on the AM dial. They run a gospel radio show out of their furniture store, and it is the stuff.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:54 AM on May 24, 2009


The Black Gospel music is pretty amazing in all of its soulfulness [.mp3].

Thanks, Miko.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:55 AM on May 24, 2009


Theremin!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:15 AM on May 24, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "I'm not well-versed in musical theory, so maybe someone who is can clarify something for me: am I hearing a lot of consecutive fifths in the shapenote singing?"

Shapenote singer here. Yes, lots of quartal harmony in the tradition, though the repertoire is split pretty evenly between that sort of "power chord" music nebulawindphone wrote about and more complex baroque-style 6-part harmonization. Here's a good example: #327 Invitation.
posted by The White Hat at 10:35 AM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and as an added bonus: meet banjoape, two girls with banjos and an abiding love for arranging sacred harp tunes.
posted by The White Hat at 11:12 AM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and as an added bonus: meet banjoape, two girls with banjos and an abiding love for arranging sacred harp tunes.

Oh, holy cow. Thanks for that. (Never thought I'd find myself saying this, but Idumea sounds.... good all low-key and restrained like that.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:31 PM on May 24, 2009


Fantastic post. Thank you!
posted by zarq at 11:54 AM on May 27, 2009


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