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The power of the voice: "shaped note" singers in DeKalb, NY.
The power of the voice: "shaped note" singers in DeKalb, NY.

The Enduring Appeal of Shaped Note Singing

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Each week across the country, thousands of people meet in churches, schools and homes to perform one of the oldest styles of American music. It's called "shaped note" singing. The name comes from the simple musical notation used in the songbooks. The tradition of the shape note singing school dates back to Elizabethan England, and for years, shaped-note music was a southern phenomenon. But it's just as popular in many northern states. Singers sit around a square. There are no instruments -- just the power of voices. Todd Moe recently attended a shaped-note workshop led by "Social Band", a Vermont based singing group, at the Old Meetinghouse Museum in the St. Lawrence county community of East DeKalb.

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