The Music

Berkley Moore's Shape-Note Books Site including some now hosted by Robert Stoddard
The Hesperian Harp

The Sacred Harp 1960 And 1966 (Denson) Revisions

A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony

The Olive Leaf

Robert Stoddard's Site for other out of print shape-note books:

About this Website

SACRED HARP.mus ( is back online.

This website is a learning resource for both experienced and new shapenote singers. Here you can find free audio .mus files of hymn tunes in 19th century shapenote songbooks which are still in use in singings across the United States today. It is my hope that these may make it easier for people to learn unfamiliar parts (like tenor to a complicated song they want to lead), familiarize more of us with some of the seldom-sung tunes, and most especially to help new singers learn the tunes so they can fully enjoy singing. Note that the music for the "Cooper Book" is taken from the 2000 edition.

To play these files, you must download the free Myriad Music Plug-In. With the Myriad plug-in installed, you will be able to:

  • play tunes at this website in either the default piano or the synthetic "Virtual Singer" voice, adjust tempo and pitch, etc., OR
  • download tunes using the "save" button to be played on your own Melody/Harmony Assistant program.

If you download the entire Melody Assistant program, you will be able to play only one or two parts in isolation for easier learning, alter instrumentation, and have a clearer view of the score. In addition, you can change 4-shape scores to 7-shape and vice-versa, or set the tunes in round notes if you wish. All the software necessary is available FREE at the Myriad website. Here are more complete instructions on how to download and play these tunes.

This website offers both aeolian ("as written") and dorian ("traditional") versions of most minor tunes. See documentation by Karen Willard and John Garst on the practice of raising sixths on the minor tunes.

Many thanks to Berkley Moore who has not only provided technical know-how throughout this entire project, but has also transcribed most of these tunes, including all the selections from the Christian Harmony, Southern Harmony, Old Harp, and Harmonia Sacra, and most from the Cooper book. There are now copies of pages from the most interesting 19th Century shape-note book The Hesperian Harp online at Berkley Moore's Hesperian Harp, and a listing of most shape-note CD and tape recordings at his Recordings.

I also wish to thank Will Fitzgerald for his work on improving this website. It now looks and functions so much better.
Thanks, Will!

My current project is to include the lyrics of each hymn on the webpage with the score. Meanwhile, the poetry of the 1991 Revision is available in Chris Thorman's online index.

To obtain copies of the Sacred Harp and other song books, see Steven Sabol's Tunebooks, Music Books, and Hymnals.