The Scarèd Harp FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

What is The Scarèd Harp?
The Scarèd Harp is, essentially, a filk of The Sacred Harp. It is a collection of filk songs set in easy four-part arrangements which are intended for group singing rather than concert performance.

What is "filk"?
Filk is a sub-genre of folk music which is indigenous to science fiction conventions. The name was, according to legend, originally a misspelling of "folk"; thus "folk music" became "filk music". If this brings to mind geeks wearing Spock ears who need to get a life, singing badly written Star Trek parodies of pop songs in tone-deaf voices accompanied by out-of-tune guitars played badly, then you're only partly correct. Filk is also typified not only by excellently written parodies to rival those of Wierd Al Yankovic, but by serious songs with beautifully crafted melodies and lyrics, not to mention a surprising number of truly fine performers, some of them professional or semi-professional folk musicians. For more information about filk, see:

Filk music? What's that?
Filk music? (from Sing Out!)
Filk FAQ

What is The Sacred Harp?
The Sacred Harp is the most famous of a number of hymn books typified by a particular style of four-part harmony, intended for group participation rather than concert performance. The singers sit in a hollow square, arranged by sections, facing inward. They are singing for themselves and each other, not for an audience. The music is written using "shape notes", a variation on normal music notation which was designed to be easier for beginners to learn, while immediately readable by experienced music readers. This Christian music is some of the most emotionally powerful music in the world. For more information about The Sacred Harp, see:

Sacred Harp Singing: History & Tradition
Sacred Harp Publishing Company
Sacred Harp Singing

Where can I get a copy?
Simply download the PDF file and print it out.

Where can I get a bound copy?
The first official mass printing of The Scarèd Harp was a limited edition of 100 numbered copies, most of which were distributed at Concertino in July 2003. A handful will be available at the World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto, Canada in August of 2003. A very small number are available from for $5 (American) plus postage.

Can I do a mass printing?
Yes, but I'd appreciate it if you'd contact me first. I'd like each mass printing to have a unique identity (i.e. say "second printing", "third printing", etc. and include the printing date). You can expect your printing costs to run very roughly $4 per copy.

Can I sell The Scarèd Harp?
Yes, but only to recover your printing costs. The agreement with the contributors specifies that no profit will be made on The Scarèd Harp.

Are there any recordings available?
Not yet, but I'm working on it!

Are MIDI files available?
Yes. You can download them here.

What program was used to produce The Scarèd Harp? Can I get the original files?
The Scarèd Harp was produced using Finale version 2001 for the PC. Contact me to get the Finale files.

What if I find a typo?
Please e-mail me at

I want to hold a Scarèd Harp sing, but I don't know how.
See How to Hold a Scarèd Harp Sing.

Can I make changes to The Scarèd Harp?
That depends on what you mean by "changes". I want to ensure that different editions of The Scarèd Harp are compatible with each other with respect to arrangements and page numbers.

How can I add songs to The Scarèd Harp?
Send your submissions to me at Keep in mind that The Scarèd Harp is about participation, not performance, so keep your arrangements simple.

What is the correct pronunciation of "Scarèd"?
"Scare - ed", not "scared" or "scarred" or "scar - ed".

This FAQ was last updated on 22 July 2003. Home