Lined singing is often sang acapella and characterized by a song leader sings each line of the song followed by the audience repeating each line of the song. This method of singing dates back to the 1600s, when many individuals could not read. Therefore, they could not read hymn books. Hymn books were scarce during this time. Lined singing began in British churches and spreaded quickly to Scottish congregations. Lined singing began to phase out during the 1700s, when literacy rates increased and hymn books were more widely available. Lined singing is still common today among certain Scottish congregations, Old Regular Baptist congregations, and African American congregations.
Shape note singing began in England during the late 1600s and entered the United States during the 1700s. Shape note singing coordinates each musical note with a shape, scale (do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do), and syllable. Those utilizing shape note singing will sing the words of each song based on the musical note's shape, scale, and syllable. Shape note singing is widely used among congregations including the Churches of Christ, Southern Baptists, Primitive Baptists, United Baptists, Free Methodists, and United Pentecostals. Shape note singing is also more predominant in Southern states including Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.