Love Will Guide Us
Words by Sally Rogers
SATB, SSAA, or TTBB
Published by Fresh Ayre Music
Sally Rogers first heard this old Baptist hymn as “I Will Guide You” sung by Helen Schneyer on her Folk Legacy album Ballads, Broadsides, and Hymns. Sally’s version is recorded on Love Will Guide Us (Flying Fish FF365).
The arrangement is out of the “shape note” or “Sacred Harp” tradition of hymn singing that began in New England in the early 19th century and quickly spread South, where it remains strong to this day. “Shape note” music is so called because of a system developed to help non-literate singers read music. The system begins with a modified solfège scale: fa sol la fa sol la mi (the seven notes of the ascending major scale). In the tradition, these are called “fasola” syllables. When the music is printed, each syllable is given a unique shape: fa = triangle, sol = circle, la = square, mi = diamond. During the singing of shape note hymns, the music is sung once through on fasola syllables before beginning the first verse.
Although printed in four parts, in practice every part except the bass is doubled at the octave. This approach is encouraged in this arrangement as well, to create the richness and brilliance of sonority that is the hallmark of the style.
Perusal Score (click to view)