From the album Free Range Hymns

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Shout On, Pray On

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1. Shout on, pray on
"Hymnal: A Worship Book" #137 & 277
Text: Samuel Medley, "Psalms and Hymns", 1775
Tune: "Kentucky Harmony", 1820; "Sacred Harp", 1850

Daryl: guitar, voice
Frances: violin, voice
Jean Sensenig: voice
Nathan: cello, voice

The hymn tunes known as “Detroit” and “Antioch” come from the rural, hymn-singing tradition of the American South known as “shape-note singing.” The different shapes of the noteheads in the musical notation system offered a simplified way of sight-singing 4-part unaccompanied hymns, and were widely used after Ananias Davisson published the Kentucky Harmony in 1817 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Davisson’s work influenced the Mennonite musician and publisher, Joseph Funk, who used shape notes in his hymn publications. Funk’s Harmonia Sacra borrowed many tunes from Davisson’s hymnals, many of which eventually found their way into modern Mennonite hymn collections.

Shape-note hymns were common to a wide variety of 19th century Christian groups in the southern United States, groups that retained strong language and cultural connections from their countries of origin. Musically, one hears clear influences from European song traditions, notably German and Scots-Irish. The Appalachian mountain range was a musical-social melting pot, with folk music from Europe, Africa and the Americas blending over centuries to characterize the rich sounds of what we now consider Appalachian music.