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A Shape-Note Singing Lesson
Getting Started

The lessons in this issue introduce students to the history and mechanics of shape-note singing, a Southern tradition that was popularized by the publication of The Sacred Harp. This book used only four syllables for the seven notes, giving each note head a unique shape. Today, Sacred Harp groups still gather to participate in this vocal art.

Students learn the basic shape-note scale, and practice by singing “Yankee Doodle” and a traditional shape-note song, “Chester.” Handouts of the scale and songs are included.

Note: This is an archival publication dating back to 2000 and any supplements or suggestions for off-site education may not be available.

Download "Smithsonian in Your Classroom: A Shape-Note Singing Lesson " (PDF).

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A Shape-Note Singing Lesson

Smithsonian in Your Classroom is produced by the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies. Teachers may duplicate the materials for educational purposes.

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