Sacred Harp is a four-part a cappella music dating from the 16th through the 20th centuries, and is characterised by haunting harmonies, traditional modes, raucous songs, serene hymns, fast fugues, and high-energy anthems. “The Sacred Harp” is a tunebook first published in 1844 in Georgia, USA. The phrase can also be interpreted as referring to the inherent human ability to make music with the voice, a “sacred harp”. The notation in the book is written in shapes that correspond to degrees of the scale, designed to make it easier to learn to sight-sing with no prior experience. This tradition is democratic and egalitarian, with participants arranged in a hollow square; facing each other so as to sing with each other and for each other.
Eimear O’Donovan will host a beginners’ workshop to introduce newcomers to the Sacred Harp tradition. An introduction to shape notation, singing in four part harmony and some very basic music theory will be covered. Eimear O’Donovan has been singing Sacred Harp music since 2010 and has attended many camps, workshops and singing schools in the US and Europe, as well as teaching Sacred Harp workshops in Ireland regularly.