Introduction to A cappella singing and "Shaped Notes"

Singing has always been a rich tradition / culture in worship even from the creation of man. When God contrived in his mind to create man, he gave us everything that our physical bodies needed to survive our "earthly constraints". We have legs for mobility, arms and hands for working and creativity, a mind to think and reason, and a voice to communicate our thoughts and feelings. Not only can we carry on a conversation with our fellow man, but God has also blessed us with a most unique useage of the human voice, Singing. We are not only attracted to singing, but we even hold on high those individuals that have particular talents in regard to singing. Music is called "The Universal Language", and in every culture here on earth singing can be found, especially in regards to worship.

Webster's defines worship as: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power ; also : an act of expressing such reverence. When one sings to God he or she is doing exactly that. Much debate has come up over the centuries in regard to how one should "Worship" our creator when it comes to music. there are basically two sides to this argument and they are either "instrumental" or "non-instrumental" worship. it is not the purpose of this article to argue or debate whether or not to use instruments in worship. However one should look to the scriptures for guidance in this and every matter that may concern ones christian life. Suffice it to say that very few "religious organizations" will refute those scriptures that command us to sing, such as Ephesians 5:19: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”, and Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

The main purpose of this section on singing is twofold, education and heritage. On education, it is hopeful that through the contents of these pages the reader can gleen knowledge of a simplistic form of harmony (shaped notes)that one can use to highten their experience of singing praises to God. As far as heritage goes, this method of singing was passed on to me by my earthly father. And as it seems that the stronghold that shaped notes once had on the early churches of the last two or more centuries has declined considerably, it is my desire that this rich heritage of how our forefathers learned to worship through song, continue through not only my lifetime but to future generations.