A Shape Note Lament
By Debbonnaire Kovacs, posted Aug. 5, 2015
Shape Note music is an ancient method of music teaching, created for people who couldn’t read music on paper. Something like the Do-Re-Mi style popularized in the movie, “The Sound of Music,” the octave is designated by sounds. Then each note on the regular music staff has a shape that represents one of those sounds.
I am a member of the Shape Note singing group here in Berea, KY. This week, to go along with the devotion, I thought you might like to hear a shape note group (not ours!) sing a popular and heartrending tune, “David’s Lamentation.” You will first hear the group reading and singing the shapes of the notes in each one’s parts. Then they sing the lyrics, which are fairly clear in the recording, but in case you can’t hear it, the words are below.
David the king was grieved and moved
He went to his chamber, his chamber, and wept;
And as he went he wept, and said,
“Oh my son! Oh my son!
Would to God I had died, would to God I had died, would to God I had died
For thee, Oh Absalom, my son, my son, my son.”