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Hymn Setting by Pierre La Plante This PowerPoint presentation contains history of the Singing Schools of America, William ...

Hymn Setting by Pierre La Plante This PowerPoint presentation contains history of the Singing Schools of America, William
Piece Duration:3 minutes 45 seconds Walker, and shaped note singing. This presentation also includes sounds samples, Sacred
Presentation Duration: 20-25 minutes Harp music examples, and an field video of Prospect being performed at an all-day sing gathering
in Goshen, Indiana. Thank you to Peggy for recording this event. All Powerpoints contain director
notes, and resource



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  • Prospect: The Southern Harmony (1835) Hymn Setting by Pierre La Plante Piece Duration: 3 minutes 45 seconds Presentation Duration: 20-25 minutes To Larry Daehn and the New Glarum High School Band, New Glarum, Wisconsin.
  • -Pierre La Plante was born in Milwaukee but grew up in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He taught 33 years at various level of band and chorus in the public school system. His success came when writing accessible music for young band. His music has been performed world wide, and now is retired. He still continues to perform on his bassoon for various orchestras and wind ensembles. -Prospect is one of the many songs that come from The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, which was compiled by William Walker in 1835 from the songs of the singing schools of America. The Southern Harmony uses a unique signing style sometimes called fasola singing or shaped note singing to be discussed later. -Graham was the composer of the music, and Watt was the writer of the lyrics for Prospect. -This tune represents the early forms of music education in the United States of America. These were schools organized to teach the new Americans how to read music using the syllables FA-SOL-LA, hence the name.
  • -The New England settlers were people seeking religious freedoms of the new world, and of equal importance was singing hymns as a congregation. -The Singing Schools were developed in Northeastern United States to teach any person how to read music with a simple four shape, or seven note singing system uses Shaped Notes. -Each shape is assigned a syllable to be sung. Singers would not need to know how to read music, but would need to learn what syllable goes with which shape. It was also known as sofala singing because the majority of the syllables are Sol-fa or la. These syllables can be related to the Solfege syllables. -Over time the singing schools disappear into obscurity, while the south and west continued singing more as a social event rather than a learning atmosphere. -This type of singing was typically taught by a travelling singing master. The book that was used was entitled The Easy Instructor by William Smith and William Little. Singing Masters would stay for weeks at a time, and as said before, it would become a large social event for the town. Students who ranged from every age, would be taught music theory, and how to sight-read music. With this system, people only needed around one week to learn the music system, but took years to become proficient. The music is not performance music, but participatory music. The singer typically face each other when learning the song. The music is usually sung at full volume in an exuberant outpouring of sound and feeling.
  • William Walker was a Baptist song leader, and singing master in the shaped note system. He was also the complier of all the tunes that are contained in The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion songbook including Prospect. The Southern Harmony published was only a four-shaped note text. Later He would publish a book that used all seven shaped notes. Most of the tunes in The Southern Harmony are written in three part harmonies, and later would be increased to a four part harmony. The more popular tunes in the Southern harmony can still be heard in church services around the country including; Rock of Ages, Wonderous Love, and New Haven. At singing sessions, a different person is chosen to lead the group. The group faces each other in sections, the leader typically has a dedication for the tune, word of wisdom for the group, and starts the tune with an outline of the notes that need to be sung by the group. The group then continues to sing the chosen song in sofala syllables or is also called solmization. This was originally used as a way for the congregation to learn the tune, this solmization produces a kind of pure vocal music, unshackled and rough, but energetic and inviting. Though most Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony singers have these tunes memorized, they enjoy the sofala singing as a part of the tune. We will hear a group sing in sofala later in this presentation.
  • -Here is what the Southern Harmony would look like if you had it in front of you. The cover is on the right.
  • -This system was designed to teach people how to read music in a quick and easy fashion. The first scale you see is a C major scale with the 4 shaped note system. A proficient shaped note singer has trained their mind to the accurately hit the pitch with the associated shape. Pitches are not tied to specific syllable or shape, they are simply a guide for the singer. -There is a difference between the 4 shaped note system and the 7 shaped note system. In the 7 shaped note system every note and syllable coressponds to a specific pitch on the scale. Which one would you like to learn if you were at a singing school?
  • -Prospect captures the distinctive sound of shaped note music. Prospect is rather modal, it does contain open chords, octave doubling, it does not have the unusual harmonies, yet is very functional. -In the Shaped Note singing books, the melody is typically carried by the tenor voice (the higher male part in vocal music), in this setting each instrument gets to play the melody of Prospect. -La Plante uses a variety of dynamics to capture the energy created of a shaped note gathering. The performers of this composition should follow every crescendo decrescendo, and exaggerate every dynamic La Plante has marked.
  • Lyrics: Why should we start or fear to die? What timorous worms we mortals are! Death is the gate to endless joy, And yet we dread to enter there. Click on sound to hear the midi generated sound.
  • This 'Prospect' video was made at an annual all-day singing on July 14, 2007, at the 'Michiana Singing' in Goshen Indiana. It was not a 'workshop,' but an old-fashioned 'all-day singing with dinner on the grounds.' The dates and places of these singings are publicized on the website, as well as in their annual 'minutes book' and by mailings to lists of singers. People often travel long distances to attend. The local singers bring food for a big potluck dinner and literally sing all day (or, for some events, all day for 2 days). Thank you to Peggy for recording this video at this event.
  • -O Come, Come Away by W. Houser. Click sound to hear sound clip. Notice: The leader outlines the chord, the tenor or the middle line has the melody, and the group sings the tune in sofala syllables(solemnization) and then sings the words to the tune.
  • -Shaped note gatherings happen all over the United States, and is a rather well attended activity by all ages from young to old, and race and gender do not matter. It has become an American tradition that still lives on today. There are no rehearsals, practices or even seats for audiences members. Going to a shaped note gathering is a rich experience of energy, and great American music. -The lyrics were also adapted to become The Seaman’s Hymn, A.L. Lloyd created the lyrics to be sung with this tune SING: “Come all you brave seamen, wherever you're bound. And always let Nelson's Proud memory go round.” -Other books followed The Easy Instructor and The Southern Harmony , such as the Sacred Harp, Virginian Harmony , and The Christian Harmony. These texts are purchased and sold today. -Youtube has shaped note videos available if you wish to see a gathering of people singing these songs. Search for “shaped note” and you will get a lot of results leading you to some great videos.

Prospect Prospect Presentation Transcript

  • Pr os pectThe Southern Harmony (1835)Hymn Setting by Pierre La PlanteCreated by Mr. Sierakowski (2007)Northern Illinois UniversityGrade 2+
  • History of the Composition• Pierre La Plante• 30b Prospect• Graham & Watt• American Music (FA-SOL-LA)West Aurora High School 2
  • Singing Schools of America• Religious freedoms• Shaped Note System• Teachers & StudentsWest Aurora High School 3
  • The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion• William Walker (1809-1875)• Famous Tunes• Singing the music LeaderWest Aurora High School 4
  • The Southern Harmony and Musical CompanionWest Aurora High School William Walker (1835) 5
  • 4 note system vs. 7 note system• Quick and Easy• 7 note systemWest Aurora High School 6
  • Compositional Techniques• Captures a distinctive sound• Melody• Energy of the compositionWest Aurora High School 7
  • ProspectWest Aurora High School 8
  • Prospect, 30b PerformanceWest Aurora High School 9
  • Another Example of Shaped Note SingingWest Aurora High School 10
  • Related Information• Today’s singing schools• “The Seaman’s Hymn”• “Awake, My Soul”• Other Songbooks• Aurora High School 11
  • Resources Cited• Blocher, Cramer, Corporon, Lautzenheiser, Lisk, & Miles (1997). Teaching Music through Performance in Band, Vol. 1. Chicago: GIA Publications.• Grand Mesa Government Website (2007). Biography of Pierre LaPlante. Retrieved on July 8, 2007 from website :• La Plante, P. (1983) . Prospect. New York: Bourne Co.• La Plante, P. (1983). Prospect [North Texas Wind Symphony, Eugene Corporon, Conductor]. Teaching Music through Performance in Band, Vol. 1. [sound recording: compact disc] . Chicago: GIA Publications.• No Author (2007). Southern Harmony . Retrieved on July 7, 2007, from website:• Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association (2007). Sacred Harp and Shaped-Note Singing. Retrieved July 9, 2007, from website:• Steel, D.W. (1989). Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Shaped Note Singing. Retrieved on July 8, 2007 from website:• Walker, W. (1835). The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion . Retrieved July 7, 2007, from website : and West Aurora High School 12