Friday, July 28, 2006

F.S.S.H.S. (frequently sung Sacred Harp songs)

At our Sacred Harp workshop at the FGC Gathering, I shared a list of characteristics that Sacred Harp singing and Quakerism have in common. One of those is a practice of careful record-keeping. I'm not certain that Quakers today are as careful in documenting the historical record as they once were, but everyone knows how valuable their (our) records are for all manner of historical research.

Similarly, Sacred Harp singers have a long-standing practice of recording minutes of their singings, noting (no pun intended), among other things, what songs were sung and who led them. The minutes are then collected and published in one volume annually. This give us, and historians of the future, a wealth of empirical data from which deeper knowledge of the actual practice of Sacred Harp singing can be derived.

Glenn Latimer, a singer from McDonough, Georgia, compiled the report that follows and gave me permission to post it here. (I got it through the fasola.singings listserve which you can learn more about here.) As you will see, he has meticulously gone through the recorded minutes of 274 Sacred Harp singings and analyzed just about every interesting statistic one could derive from those minutes. (This, of course, includes only to "official" singings for which minutes are kept; they do not reflect the thousands of local singings that are held weekly or monthly across the country, or ad hoc singings such as our afternoon singings at the FGC Gathering.) For Sacred Harp singers, this is a treasure trove of information about ourselves. But these records are not simply of academic interest, they have practical uses, too.

For example, I am resolved to learn and lead at least one of the three songs that was not led at all during 2005 at our next convention, just so they aren't skunked two years running. (Maybe I'll learn why they've been ignored. . . .) And I'm using the list of frequently used opening songs to expand my repertoire when I am called on to lead an opening song. Similarly, it is good to see what others frequently lead for closing and memorial lessons and may expand my options.

I'll just make one observation of my own. Of the 274 daily sessions recorded, the most frequently sung song -- Hallelujah -- was sung in just 53% of the singings. In other words, the favorite song of 2005 was sung in only a little more than half of the singings.

I am so grateful to live in a world where people sing this kind of music and for people like Glenn who care enough about it to document its practice and to share it with the rest of the singing community.

The 2005 Sacred Harp Minutes book contains 274 daily
sessions in 227 Sacred Harp Singings (an average of
1.2 sessions per singing). The singers sang a total
of 19,804 songs. They sang anywhere from 25 to 103
songs each session averaging 72.3 songs per day.
Holly Springs Primitive Baptist Church achieved the
2005 record of singing the most songs (103) in one day
(pg 139).

"The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition," "The B.F. White
Sacred Harp" (Revised Cooper Edition, 2000), and "J.L.
White Revision of the Sacred Harp" (1911) were the
only books with enough songs sung from them in 2005 to
determine their "top songs" (except "Other Sources").
Note: "The Missouri Harmony, 2005 Edition" came out
with different song numbering than the previous
edition, so it was not clear which singings used which
book. Therefore, my results for the Missouri Harmony
singings were inconclusive and were not included.

Top Sacred Harp Songs in 2005
"The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition"
RANK FREQ. PAGE TUNE
1 142 146 Hallelujah
2 140 155 Northfield
2 140 480 Redemption
3 134 282 I’m Going Home
4 129 475 A Thankful Heart
5 126 68b Ortonville
6 124 99 Gospel Trumpet
7 123 45t New Britain
7 123 171 Exhortation (First)
8 121 142 Stratfield
9 120 59 Holy Manna
10 119 40 Lenox
10 119 335 Return Again
11 118 569b Sacred Throne
12 117 63 Coronation
12 117 178 Africa
13 115 276 Bridgewater
14 114 143 Pleyel’s Hymn (First)
15 111 47b Idumea
16 110 203 Florida
17 108 384 Panting for Heaven
18 107 34b St. Thomas
18 107 300 Calvary
19 106 112 The Last Words of Copernicus
19 106 358 Murillo’s Lesson
19 106 503 Lloyd
20 105 32t Corinth
20 105 159 Wondrous Love
20 105 454 The Better Land
21 103 101t Canaan’s Land
21 103 186 Sheburne
22 101 270 Confidence
23 98 168 Cowper
24 97 47t Primrose
24 97 318 Present Joys
25 96 84 Amsterdam

Top Sacred Harp Songs in 2005
"The B.F. White Sacred Harp" (Revised Cooper Ed. 2000)
RANK FREQ. PAGE TUNE
1 32 559 Will You Meet Me
2 26 571 Not Made With Hands
3 25 505 Cleansing Fountain
4 21 572 We Will Sing With the Angels There
5 18 500 Sweet By and By
5 18 563 Jesus is Mine
5 18 573 Trusting Jesus
6 17 133 John 4:14
6 17 478 March On
6 17 497 The Bitter Cup
7 16 54t Palmetto
7 16 336t Hester
7 16 511t Brown
8 15 38t Sessions
8 15 63 Coronation
8 15 99 Gospel Trumpet
8 15 171 Exhortation
8 15 270 Confidence
8 15 522 Shades of Night
8 15 567 Child of Thine
8 15 574 Sweet Peace
9 14 47b Idumea
9 14 98 Glory Shone Around
9 14 282 I’m Going Home
9 14 450 Leaning on Jesus’ Breast
10 13 36b Ninety-Fifth Psalm
10 13 138t Song to the Lamb
10 13 229 The Great Roll Call
10 13 384 Longing for Heaven
10 13 393t I’m Wandering To and Fro

Top Sacred Harp Songs in 2005
"J.L. White Revision of the Sacred Harp" (1911)
RANK FREQ. PAGE TUNE
1 19 517 Not Made with Hands
2 10 486t Trusting
3 6 492 Love at Home
4 5 491b Jesus Died for Me
5 3 36b Ninety Fifth
5 3 54t Georgia

Top Songs from Other Sources (Including New
Compositions) in the 2005 Minutes
RANK FREQ. TUNE
1 14 Joshua
2 12 Ashley
3 8 Nothing But the Blood of Jesus
4 5 A Light at the River
4 5 Mercy Seat
4 5 Sweet Beulah Land
5 3 Plum Grove Church


SONGS SUNG FROM EACH TUNEBOOK (OR OTHER SOURCES)

TUNEBOOK SONGS TOTALS
The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition 553 17256
The B.F. White Book (Cooper, 2000) 393 1843
J.L. White Revision (1911) 147 217
The Missouri Harmony 61 97
Christian Harmony (Carolina Edition) 48 56
Jeremiah Ingalls Christian Harmony 44 45
Social Harp 42 42
Christian Harmony (Alabama Edition) 31 38
Southern Harmony 28 31
Eclectic Harmony 21 21
Colored Sacred Harp 12 12
Oberlin Harmony 12 12
Eclectic Harmony II 9 9
Lloyd Hymnal 7 8
New Harp of Columbia 3 3
The Sacred Harp, 1936 Edition 3 5
Old School Hymnal 1 1
James Edition Book 1 6
Other Sources 52 102
TOTAL 1468 19804

OTHER FACTS ABOUT "THE SACRED HARP, 1991 EDITION"
SONGS IN THE 2005 MINUTES

Top OPENING Songs:
RANK FREQ. PAGE TUNE
1 31 32t Corinth
2 26 59 Holy Manna
3 18 34b St. Thomas
4 12 49t Mear
5 10 31b Webster
5 10 47t Primrose
5 10 52t Albion
6 9 30t Love Divine
7 8 48t Devotion
8 6 101t Canaan’s Land
9 5 36b Ninety-Fifth
9 5 37b Liverpool
9 5 82t Bound for Canaan
10 4 31t Ninety-Third Psalm
10 4 171 Exhortation (First)

Other OPENING Songs: 27, 28b, 33t, 33b, 38t, 39t,
39b, 40, 45t, 46, 47b, 56t, 60, 61, 63, 65, 67, 68b,
72b, 73t, 73b, 75, 77t, 77b, 81t, 84, 111b, 114, 124,
129, 141, 145t, 145b, 155, 161, 168, 173, 176t, 212,
274t, 276, 277, 312b, 313t, 318, 319, 321, 335, 345t,
381, 410b, 415, 448b, 452, 475, 479, 481, 565, 567

Songs Sung Most Often IN MEMORY OF THE DECEASED
(During Memorial Lesson):
RANK FREQ. PAGE TUNE
1 5 122 All Is Well
1 5 45t New Britain
2 4 30b Prospect
2 4 159 Wondrous Love
2 4 285t Arnold
2 4 348b Fleeting Days
3 3 146 Hallelujah
3 3 163b China
3 3 425 Golden Streets

Other Songs Sung IN MEMORY OF THE DECEASED (During
Memorial Lesson): 28t, 32b, 33b, 34t, 34b, 48t, 50b,
52t, 61, 68b, 69t, 70t, 74b, 80b, 82t, 86, 97, 114,
128, 134, 138b, 144, 176t, 179, 209, 212, 229, 236,
270, 288, 299, 303, 312t, 330b, 338, 339, 340, 341,
347, 358, 389, 390, 418, 420, 430, 448b, 452, 454,
460, 475, 498, 499, 542, 547, 549, 564, 566

Songs Sung Most Often FOR THE SICK AND SHUT-INS
(During Memorial Lesson):
RANK FREQ. PAGE TUNE
1 9 340 Odem (Second)
2 4 70b Save, Mighty Lord
2 4 179 The Christian Warfare
3 3 33b Abbeville
3 3 68b Ortonville

Other Songs Sung FOR THE SICK AND SHUT-INS (During
Memorial Lesson): 26, 30b, 34t, 39t, 45t, 57, 58, 61,
65, 72b, 81t, 86, 97, 101t, 107, 111b, 129, 143, 146,
154, 163?, 183, 201, 218, 225t, 274t, 277, 288, 294,
315, 318, 344, 347, 348b, 371, 385b, 389, 400, 421,
425, 452, 457, 472, 475, 490, 499, 510, 515, 531, 542,
546, 566, 569?

Top CLOSING Songs
RANK FREQ. PAGE TUNE
1 57 62 Parting Hand
2 36 46 Let Us Sing
3 27 347 Christian’s Farewell
4 9 146 Hallelujah
4 9 323t Mullins
4 9 521 Parting Friends (Third)
5 8 56t Columbiana
6 7 45t New Britain
6 7 45b Imandra New
7 3 69t Minister’s Farewell
7 3 267 Parting Friends (First)
7 3 549 Phillips Farewell

Other CLOSING Songs Used: 28b, 30b, 32t, 34b, 36b,
37b, 39t, 57, 59, 63, 75, 78, 83t, 98, 127, 128, 133,
142, 143, 145b, 155, 157, 159, 198, 208, 212, 217,
235, 240, 270, 276, 277, 278b, 282, 312b, 323b, 331,
335, 343, 345b, 348b, 362, 452, 475, 481, 488b, 494,
503, 512, 544, 559b, 566, 569b


SONGS SUNG ONLY ONCE IN 2005: 41, 69b, 80t, 116,
160t, 263, 275t, 293, 414, 423, 449, 483, 488, 493,
539, 541, 553, 562

SONGS NOT SUNG IN 2005: 169, 407, 465

Compiled by Glenn E. Latimer
(fasolalatimer@yahoo.com), July 30, 2006

(Revised on 7-30-06 at Glenn's request to correct the identification of the Cooper Book and other small items. On 8-22-06 I deleted the "Discrepencies" sections at Glenn's request.)
Your blogger, leading in Missouri, in his convention shirt.

2 comments:

Martha Henderson said...

"For example, I am resolved to learn and lead at least one of the three songs that was not led at all during 2005 at our next convention, just so they aren't skunked two years running. (Maybe I'll learn why they've been ignored. . . .)"

465, Trouble or Sorrow, is pretty good. I've led it at local singings. It's a little quirky. The other two are not as good. Dartmouth is too fussy and Charlton is just boring.

Leland Bryant Ross said...

Where might I find a tabulation of this sort for a more recent year or, even better, for a series of years.