Route of Progress: Sound

Route of Progress tour, 2007; Myself and Shape Note composer Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg embarked on a 2 month journey along the Erie Canal, stopping in 6 different locations. In each town we collaborated with historians, locals and people who work with land, to gather stories, write songs, hold video and singing workshops. Each stop culminated with a participatory singing and story event and a multi-channel video screening of the 13th screen. Upon arriving in each town, I conducted local interviews and gleaned content from everything I was told while Jesse held Shape Note singing workshops. Writing the content into metered verse I passed it off to Jesse who composed the poems into original Shape Note scores each with 4 vocal parts. Songs were then taught and sung together at the final performances. Shape Note music is a traditional American community singing style popular in Upstate New York and New England in the 1800’s, it is written in a four part harmony meant to be sung inwards in a square, participants take turns leading the songs and there is typically no audience.

Listen to Died, 1825 from Schenectady.

Shape Note song written in Rome, NY. Performed en route with participating novice audiences and local Shape Note practitioners. Shown in this documentation is Eyebeam NYC, Rome, Palmyra and the Woodside Campground in Dunkirk in the Route of Progress tour. 2007


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