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Sounding Spirit

Sounding Spirit features songbooks and hymnals published across the southern United States from 1850 to 1925. Spanning holdings from four partner archives, the digital library’s twenty-two books include words-only hymnals, gospel songbooks, spiritual collections, and shape-note tunebooks, demonstrating the wide variety of form, content, and presentation in southern vernacular sacred songbooks. These songbooks employ competing notation systems and vary in musical style from dispersed harmony fuging tunes and plain tunes of the shape-note repertoire, to antiphonal gospel, to classically inspired arrangements of African American spirituals, to words-only hymns in Muskokee sung in unison, to tunes in oral tradition shared among southern black and white congregations.

Items in this Collection (22)

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