Asterisk* = recorded off-tour
Italics = spoken
During the summer of 2007 The Subliminal History of New York State: Route of Progress tour visited six towns and cities along and beyond the Erie Canal. In each stop, New York City-based artist Carrie Dashow gathered information, talking with historians, geologists, and other residents with a story to tell. Carrie wrote the stories she collected into poetry, which she passed off to Troy, NY-based shape note singer and composer Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg, who composed them into shape note songs. Jesse then taught the music to residents of the town at a series of singing workshops, culminating in a participatory presentation where the workshop graduates and others met to sing the songs, and tell stories about their community.
This song map presents many of the songs Carrie and Jesse wrote along the way. The songs are grouped by location, with each marker representing a stop on the Route of Progress tour. Unless otherwise indicated, the recordings are from the participatory presentations that Carrie and Jesse held at the locations.
Shape note music is a form of unaccompanied group singing that has been continuously practiced in the United States since the late 1700s. The music features an unique form of notation designed to make reading music easier with the hope of making singing accessible to the widest possible audience. The music is written in distinctively shaped note heads, and each shape corresponds with a syllable (”fa,” “sol,” “la,” and “mi,” see diagram on this page). Singers sing through each song on these syllables before singing on the words, enabling them to read music the more easily.
For the Subliminal History of New York State, Carrie Dashow and Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg became modern-day itinerants, tracing New York’s route of progress along the state’s waterways and in doing so, following in the footsteps of the itinerant singing masters who first spread this music through upstate New York in the early 1800s. The Subliminal History of New York State employs shape note music because of its strong historical ties to upstate New York, because it was presented by traveling singing masters, and because of its pedagogical, community-oriented group dynamic, and beginner-friendly focus.
Click on one of the colored markers to bring up a list of songs from the corresponding chapter of the Subliminal History of New York State
Then click on one of the songs in the list to listen to that song.
You can click on a different location marker or song at any time, or just let the player play through the songs.
Texts by Carrie Dashow.
Music by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg.
Subliminal History of New York State Song Map created By Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg.
All Names Rhyme recorded at the Subliminal History of New York State (SHNYS): Troy final presentation at the Sanctuary For Independent Media, June 12.
Delta Lake, Fort Stanwix (spoken), and The Great Carry (spoken) recorded at SHNYS: Rome final presentation at the Rome Art and Community Center, June 17.
Climate, Animals Don't Tell Stories, State School, Passage, Every Place Has a Secret Place (spoken), Hydesville Road, Hydesville Road New (spoken), New Land (spoken), and End recorded at SHNYS: Palmyra final presentation at the Palmyra Inn, June 22.
Ganargua Creek and Three Gorges recorded at SHNYS: Lockport final presentation at the Niagara County Historical Society, June 28.
Again, Noah Vibbard Van Vorst, Haigh, James Cuff Swits (first), Cowhorn Creek (spoken), Aloha, Ernst Alexanderson, Willis Hanson, and What Happened to Death recorded at SHNYS: Vale Park final presentation at the Schenectady Museum, July 21.
114th Street, Lansingburgh, Diamond Rock, Hudson Mohawk, From Henry Hudson, Watershed, Delta Lake, Fort Stanwix, The Great Carry, Hydesville Road New, Every Place Has a Secret Place, Stone Houses, Rattlesnake Hill, Under the Widest Bridge, Lonesome Creek, Northern Rim, We Walk Among Us, Maplewood, Lily Dale Automatica, Died, 1825, and Cowhorn Creek recorded at Studio Eleven, September 6 and 12. Sung by Laura Borrelli, Elizabeth Brownell, Nellie Farrington, Anna Hendrick, Bill Holt, Anne Kazlauskas, Joanna Lampert, Andy Lebrun, Chuck McCallum, John Ostwald, Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg, Jessie Ricker, Richard L. Schmeidler, Justin Squizzero, and Kelsey Sunderland.
This project is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, and with support from the Experimental Television Center, Finishing Funds and an Individual Artist Grant, The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, The Tank, a space for performing and visual arts in New York City, The New York Foundation for the Arts and the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Eyebeam, and a generous donation from the Roland Corporation.