Forging American Music – Shape-note Singing in Early America

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Date / Time

  • November 8, 2018
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States


The shape-note method is a musical learning aid that was invented in Philadelphia in 1798 and became popular for musical instruction, social worship, and community singing. Shape-note books included not only music composed for choirs but also religious folk songs and even secular ballads. “Amazing Grace” is one of many hymn tunes that were first written in shaped notes. Shape-note singing, also called Sacred Harp, has survived in living tradition in the south and is enjoying a revival throughout the U.S. and abroad. Join singers from CraftWorks and Rachel Hall, shape-note historian and co-author of The Shenandoah Harmony, as they perform shape-note songs of early America and discuss their historical context, with a focus on Philadelphia and Pennsylvania connections. After the presentation, we will invite the audience to participate in a “singing” with the choir and local shape-note singers.

About the Performers

Craft Works Music is comprised of all professional musicians working in the Philadelphia and Surrounding Areas. Founded in October 2017, Craft Works is organization of musicians that develop, perform, and solicit new music on their own and develop their own skills together. They are advocates of new music compositions that will be recorded, produced, and broadcasted weekly on a podcast launching in 2018.

About Performances at the Rosenbach

From adaptations of beloved classics from page to stage to interactive performances inspired by great literature, experience theatrical arts in an intimate setting.

Seating is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended.