Today, Marshall took my car to work while his is in the shop, and since I don’t really have anywhere I need to be this afternoon, I’ve been making a new kind of bread and listening to William Billings music.  And guess what I found?  That’s right!!!  The score for Billings’ As the Hart Panteth!!!

This is the song—fuguing tune? anthem?—I heard in college, loved, and tried to transcribe.  Several passages are so, so beautiful, even if the piece itself isn’t that cohesive.  But since the treble and soprano are often very similar in early American shaped-note singing—sometimes sung in the same register, with lots of crossing and not-infrequent unisons—I got the lines confused and have been humming it in my head all wrong for the last four years.  ALL WRONG. This afternoon, with score in hand, I am learning the parts, and they are (predictably) gorgeous.

And— … I sing by myself in my apartment, with New Harp of Columbia open on a chair and my laptop, with the newfound digital score onscreen, held up in front of the boombox.  Leafblowers buzzing on the sidewalk below.

This is what happens when you love music but study English instead and fail to make / keep any music friends.  None of my English major friends were music people, in college, and only a few of the English grad students I knew were musicians (and they were in like, you know, rock bands—totally useless to me).  Well, I have several friends (and tons of family members) now who are instrumentalists.  Which is great, and I’m jealous, but I need some more vocalists in my life, immediately.  And vocalists that are just weird enough to like William Billings.

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