"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.

I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. I get the most joy in life out of music."

~ Albert Einstein

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Sacred Harp of Hoboken

If you are wondering what Sacred Harp music is – and why – this is a good introduction. The YouTube note states "This video was originally made by Will Payne when he was working for WTBS in Atlanta."


Friday, June 24, 2016

Sacred Harp: I'm Going Home

A recording cannot really do justice to Sacred Harp, just as a picture of a sailboat cannot communicate the experience of riding the waves. Nevertheless, after going to the National Sacred Harp Convention last week, I was inspired to find some recordings online.

The movie Cold Mountain brought Sacred Harp to the big screen. The choir they used to record the soundtrack was drawn from authentic Sacred Harp singers who have helped to keep the art alive.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sacred Harp 59: Holy Manna

Sacred Harp singing, preserved in Appalachia among Primitive Baptist Churches, is not like what is typically heard in mainline Protestant churches. This is one Sacred Harp tune, however, that did find its way into more traditional church hymnals.I grew up hearing "Brethren We Have Met to Worship" sung in staid Sunday morning settings. The "fa-sol-la" rhythm (fuguing) actually translated well in the more traditional church hymn format.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sacred Harp: "Thy Beauties Are Divine" (Isaac Watts)

Isaac Watts, the story goes, was absolutely dismayed by the dreary music he heard in the Church of England's Psalter. When he complained to his father, his father challenged him to do better if he thought he could improve on what King David wrote. Isaac Watts indeed went on to write over 600 hymns, many of which found widespread use in Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian hymnals. Most of those hymns were composed when he was between the ages of 20 and 22. Many hymns by Isaac Watts have found their way into the Sacred Harp hymnal. This one is a wonderful example of a hymn of adoration.

Tune: Raymond C. Hamrick, 1980
 Words: Isaac Watts, 1719

My Savior and my King,
Thy beauties are divine;
Thy lips with blessing overflow,
And ev’ry grace is Thine.

The smilings of Thy face,
How amiable they are;
’Tis heav’n to rest in Thine embrace,
And nowhere else but there.

Nor earth, nor all the sky,
Can one delight afford;
No, not a drop of Thy real joy,
Without Thy presence, Lord.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Beautiful Meditative Islamic Call to Prayer

Thinking of our Muslim brothers and sisters during this month of Ramadan. Also the Birmingham Islamic Society, as it does each year, is inviting the community to share an iftar meal. There is information at their website. Here is an excerpt from their invitation letter (also found on their website):

"We would very much appreciate the opportunity to host you, your family and friends, or your organization or group on a weekday or a weekend evening between the dates of June 7 and July 4, 2015. We warmly welcome you to observe our evening prayer at sunset. Dinner will follow with a brief presentation on Islam and a question/answer session. The program usually runs about 2 hours in total, depending on the visiting group and their questions."