I really love Sacred Harp singing, and I don't know why.. I'm not a rugged Southerner by any means.
Well, actually.. I know what I love about the music, but I've never found out why it touches me so deeply. I love how everybody sings as loud as they can. I love how everyone just goes for those high notes without caring. I love how people stomp, clap, sway in unison.. I love the rugged, unrefined harmonies and robust tempos.. I love the texts, poetic and often with a doomy Southern tinge..
My thoughts, that often mount the skies,
Go, search the world beneath,
Where nature all in ruin lies,
And owns, her sovereign — Death!
And now for my composition Meditations Around the Cross, I'm setting a Sacred Harp hymn and trying to capture everything I love about Sacred Harp singing.
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Tyler Versluis is a composer and pianist.