A Little Close Harmony: A Medley of Nineteenth-Century Harmony

Gage Averill

in Four Parts, No Waiting

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195116724
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849550 | DOI:

Series: American Musicspheres Series

A Little Close Harmony: A Medley of Nineteenth-Century Harmony

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Vocal harmonies dominated most of America during the early nineteenth century as homespun harmonies of singing schools coexisted with the schooled harmonies of the Handel Society and Boston's Haydn. As hymns were typically arranged with two to four voices, African Americans integrated various African techniques to create music with polyphonic attributes. The emergence of harmonies that possessed a variety of features heightened America's passion for multipart vernacular harmonies. Although Sacred Harp differed much from traditional close harmonies, this served as one of the most recognized legacy elements in analyzing the history of the singing school approach as it was still considered a vernacular harmony. Germans and Austrians also played a major role in the development of part-singing in America. This chapter focuses on how close harmonies originated and how American music matured during the period.

Keywords: vocal harmonies; close harmonies; singing schools; polyphonic arrangements; Sacred Harp; Germans; Austrians

Chapter.  10986 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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