Shaped-note singing is an American tradition of hymn-singing that endures today in churches and annual singing schools and conventions.
Check out this fascinating musical style when the Tri-Cities Shaped-Note Convention Annual Concert comes to Northeast State on July 28 at 7:00 p.m. The concert is being held at the College’s Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater located on the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.
The band’s performance is part of the College’s “Hot Nights, Cool Music” summer concert series. Admission is free and open to the public. The performance celebrates Northeast State’s 50th Anniversary.
“Shape-note” refers to a musical notation system designed to make reading music easy. Notes with note-heads of different shapes represent the four corresponding syllables: fa, sol, la, and mi. The style began in New England in the 18th century and made its way to the Southern states where it enjoyed popularity through the mid-19th century.
Basically, shaped-notes allow for a simplified way to read music. Based on squares, ovals, diamonds, and triangles – the distinctive shapes of the notes instantly tell what pitch to sing. The style gained a great following in colonial times when many singers were musically untrained. The music has a distinctive modal sound, where each voice part is interesting and melodic. The singing is usually exuberant, rhythmic and full of feeling!