The Morning Trumpet

“The Morning Trumpet,” by Benjamin Franklin White (1800-1879), is a camp revival song published in 1844 in the first edition of The Sacred Harp, a shape-note hymn book compiled by White and E.J. King (1821-1844).

In shape-note music, notes are printed in special shapes that help the reader identify them on the musical scale. White’s book employed the four-shape system, in which each of four shapes is connected to a syllable: fa, sol, la, or mi. This system is able to cover a full octave scale because each syllable-shape combination other than mi is assigned to two distinct notes of the scale.

Shape-note tunes are often predominantly pentatonic, with harmonies that emphasize stark intervals of fourths and fifths. In four-part harmony, the tune is typically in the tenor voice.

Here’s an excerpt of “The Morning Trumpet,” sung in the original harmonization by the female vocal quartet, Anonymous Four:

Our arrangement for brass quintet preserves the tune, but harmonizes it in a more contemporary style. It features alternating calls between first and second trumpet, and an optional snare drum part.

Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $12.99