Note regarding digitized tunebooks on the Internet: An increasing number of 19th-century public-domain tunebooks have been, or will be, scanned or retypeset and placed on the Internet. Scans are often deposited in the IMSLIP/Petrucci Music Library, ChoralWiki/Choral Public Domain Library, and Google Books. Also at least one digital periodical featuring new Sacred Harp compositions is now online. A few of these publications of greater than usual interest are listed in this chapter, while a few others are listed in Chapter 4 on Internet resources. Separating paper-printed books from online books in different chapters is now anachronistic, but until Chapter 4 is restructured, one should check both chapters.
Note regarding out-of-print books: This list includes some important tunebooks that were in print within the past 20 years but are now out of print. One may find them in large libraries. Used copies may be sold through Amazon.com and similar online stores. Also, digital images of some or all pages of certain books, most notably those in the public domain, may be found on the online resources mentioned in the above note. Finally, some books can be printed on demand in paperback format by various publishers or even "while you wait" at retail bookstores possessing a printing machine such as the Espresso Book Machine.
The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition published by the Sacred Harp Publishing Company. The 1991 Edition (the successor to the Denson Revision) is the more widely used of two major editions of The Sacred Harp in use today, particularly in the north and central regions of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, and among the many Sacred Harp singers outside the South. In the lineage of Sacred Harp editions, it is a descendent of the 1844 tunebook The Sacred Harp by B.F. White and E. J. King and the 1911 revision called Original Sacred Harp compiled by Joseph S. James. More immediately it is a revision of, and successor to, the Original Sacred Harp: Denson Revision (1936). To compile the 1991 Edition, a music committee of prominent Sacred Harp singers chaired by Hugh McGraw added 62 songs and deleted 46 rarely sung older songs and anthems from the last edition of the Denson Revision. The added songs include late 18th- and early 19th-century classics of New England and Southern origin and new songs by living composers from the South, Northeast, and Midwest. The scores of all 554 songs were entirely retypeset for easier legibility. Sources and dates of tunes and texts were revised to reflect modern scholarship by Professors David Warren Steel and William J. Reynolds. There is a Rudiments section relevant to modern singers by John Garst. This edition has been very enthusiastically received by the Sacred Harp community as well as by hymnologists. Typographical errors in the initial printings were gradually corrected in subsequent printings. (This edition/revision is still frequently termed the "Denson book" by many Sacred Harpers, but this is incorrect in a strict sense, because the music committee for this major revision did not include members of the Denson family, and the ownership of the publishing company was (and is) no longer concentrated in the Denson family. The 1991 Edition was realized through the leadership of Hugh McGraw, the dynamic Executive Secretary of the publishing company from 1958 to 2002.) ISBN 0-9727398-0-7. Order from the Sacred Harp Publishing Co., c/o Philip Denney, 208 Oak Grove Road, Carrollton, GA 30117. Prices as of January 2019: The price of one-five books is $25.00 per book plus $5.00 for shipping for the first book via USPS to U.S. addresses. Shipping for additional books after the first (up to four) is $2.75 per book. The price of a case of six books is $150.00 per case plus $15.00 for shipping of one case to U.S. addresses, including insurance and delivery confirmation. Shipping for additional cases is $12.75 per case. Larger orders must be in multiples of six books. For shipping via USPS to international addresses, the price is $190.00/case including shipping. More details are on the ordering page of the publisher's website. Make checks payable to the Sacred Harp Publishing Company. Ordering via PayPal with a credit card is available through buttons and a shopping cart on the ordering page.
The Sacred Harp Online Index by Chris Thorman is an integrated set of indices of the The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition. More information in Chapter 4.
FaSoLa Minutes app for iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch), and FaSoLa Minutes app for Android devices are very useful apps developed by Mark Godfrey and Mike Richards, respectively. They present a database of all songs in the 1991 Edition and the instances in which they were led at singings since 1995, with song texts, text words, popularity, leaders, and other information searchable accessible without a phone or Wi-Fi connection -- a wealth of information in one's pocket. Audio recordings of each song are also accessible with a connection. More information is found in Chapter 2 under Minutes.
Digital images of songs in the Denson Revisions of 1960-1971 that were deleted when compiling the 1991 Edition, prepared by Berkley Moore.
Sacred Harp Page Tracking Table (PDF) by John Bealle tracks the page number in earlier editions of The Sacred Harp on which is found each song in the 1991 Edition that was not new to that edition. The earlier editions listed are those published in 1844, 1859, 1869, 1911, 1936, 1960, 1966, 1971, and 1991.
The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012 published by the Sacred Harp Book Co. The "Cooper Edition" is a tunebook descended from the 19th-century Sacred Harp and initially published in 1902 by W. M. Cooper. This Edition has been periodically revised by a different circle of singers and their families from those who produced the Denson and 1991 Editions described above. It has been traditionally used in the Florida panhandle, the southern regions of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, and in Texas. It is also used by black Sacred Harp groups in Alabama. Nationwide interest in the Cooper Edition (informally known as the "Cooper book") has increased dramatically in recent years, and currently there are Cooper Edition singings in nearly all regions of the U.S. The Cooper Edition has many songs in common with the Denson/1991 Sacred Harp (sometimes with different alto parts and titles) but also many other mid- to late-nineteenth-century songs having a relatively sweet harmony, including "call-and-response" songs. It also has a number of beautiful "folk hymns" not in the 1991 Edition, and several contemporary songs. Many Sacred Harp singers attend both Cooper Edition and 1991 Edition singings and cherish the unique songs of each tradition. The new 2012 Revised Cooper Edition represents a monumental cover-to-cover retypesetting of all pages by Karen Willard, a Seattle alto singer and shape-note music publisher. Improvements and corrections were made carefully to enhance singability and readability without altering the music or changing the character of the tunebook. Ms. Willard reports the following improvements: The dark blue hardbound 608-page book is 1/2 inch taller and 1/2 inch wider than before. The 612 songs (counting two in the Rudiments) include 14 newly added songs, 12 by currently living composers. No songs were deleted. All known musical and typographical errors were corrected. All remaining uses of "etc." were replaced with actual lyrics, and additional verses were added to 95 songs where there was space for more. Eleven songs were moved to different pages to allow more room for previously cramped songs. All alto parts are now in the treble clef rather than alto clef. The Rudiments section is now much more readable, and minor errors were corrected. The Tunename Index includes names used in the Denson/1991 editions where they differ from the those in the Cooper Edition. Finally, the name of the book itself was changed from The B.F. White Sacred Harp (the name used from 1949-2006) to The Sacred Harp, the name used from 1902 until 1949; however the former name is printed on the spine. Clearly everyone who attends Cooper book singings will want to buy a copy of this new edition. The base price is $20.00 per book regardless of the quantity purchased. Bulk orders are by case (10 books/case). Shipping charges (to U.S. addresses) are as follow: First book (or one book) $5.00; for additional books up to 5 books add $2.00 per book; and for a case of 10 books add $20. Inquire about shipping charges for orders to non-U.S. addresses. Online ordering of the Cooper Edition to U.S. addresses is now possible on the Sacred Harp Book Co. website. If ordering by mail, make checks payable to the Sacred Harp Book Co. and mail to Ms. Victoria Aplin, Treasurer, Sacred Harp Book Co. Inc., 200 S. Johnson St., Samson, AL 36477, e-mail aplinbill-at-gmail-dot-com, phone 334-898-7253.
Revision changes from the 2006 to the 2012 Revision are listed on a webpage created by Gaylon Powell.
Comparison Tune Index Between the 1991 Denson Revision and the 2012 Cooper Revision by Gaylon L. Powell. More information is in Chapter 4.
The Sacred Harp Revised Cooper Book Online Index (for the 2012 revision) by Gaylon L. Powell. One can search all the songs by title, page number, first line, composer, poet, meter, and key words. The word index is still under construction.
Original Sacred Harp edited by Joseph Stephen James, Centennial Edition (2015) edited by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg. This substantial and beautifully bound book is a commemorative facsimile reprint of the second printing of the James book, originally published in Atlanta, GA between 1911 and 1921, supplemented with a new introduction by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg. It is published by the Pitts Theology Library, Atlanta, and the Sacred Harp Publishing Company. In the history of Sacred Harp revisions, the James Revision was the immediate predecessor to the Denson Revision (see first item above). It was compiled by a committee chaired by Atlanta businessman and politician Joseph S. James and was published to compete with the new B. F. White Sacred Harp (Cooper) revision (see above) and the Sacred Harp editions of J. L. White (see below) by drawing the many singers who preferred the "old harmonies" of the "original" 1844-1860 Sacred Harp to more modern gospel-music and church-music styles. The James book was a very ambitious project that produced a large, weighty, and impressive tunebook containing 609 tunes plus Rudiments and tune-name index. It retained all of the tunes in the 1870 B. F White Sacred Harp and restored two-thirds of the tunes removed from that book in the 19th century. New tunes were added, but they were in the style found in the mid-19th century Sacred Harp editions of B. F. White. The word "Original" was added to the title to reflect this return to the traditional body of tunes in the old style of "dispersed harmony" and to contrast the book with the Cooper and J.L. White revisions. Alto parts were added to many three-part tunes. Biblical verses were placed under the tune titles. Historical notes written by James, variably accurate and occasionally humorous, about the text authors and tune composers were added at the bottom of each score. The tan, red, and black front and back covers loudly attracted attention and interest through its colors and its many typefaces. The book was intended to be a modern-looking presentation of music having the older style preferred by traditionalists. The James edition became the most popular of the three competing Sacred Harp editions of the early 20th century. Eventually it became the template for the succeeding revision, the Denson Revision of 1936, which eliminated 176 songs and which is the revision that many older currently living Sacred Harp singers first sang from. The Centennial Edition is a faithful replication of the James book with high-resolution facsimile reproductions of the music pages and Rudiments and the colorful cover. The new Introduction to the Centennial Edition by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg, Sacred Harp singer and composer now at Emory University, is an excellent and scholarly historical account of not only the James book and Mr. James but also the other Sacred Harp revisions of the early 20th century. There is also a Forward by Michael Hinton, President, Sacred Harp Publishing Co. Hardcover 584 pages. ISBN 978-0-9814-5651-5. Order from the Sacred Harp Publishing Co. for $25 per copy plus $5 shipping to US addresses. Detailed information about ordering multiple copies and payment through PayPal is found on the web page.
Original Sacred Harp, 1921 James Edition, online digital images. Digital scans of a copy of the entire "James revision" (fourth printing made in 1921) have been generated by the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University at the request of Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg, vice president of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company. According to Mr. Karlsberg, the contents of the 1911 and 1921 editions are very similar. The volume is available as a free download (27 MB) from the Pitts digital archives. However, it is recommended to purchase the handsome Centennial Edition of the entire tunebook (see immediately above). (Note: Two more shape-note tunebooks published by James in 1909 and 1913 are listed near the bottom of this chapter.)
Digitized images of the 1929 fifth printing of the James book, at the library of the University of California at Santa Cruz, are available as a free Google e-book. Downloading is faster at this site compared to the Emory site described above, but there is no image of the book's cover.
The Sacred Harp, Fourth Edition with Supplement, compiled by J.L. White (1911), 2007 Edition. James Landrum White, the eighth son of B.F. White, published The Sacred Harp, Fourth Edition, With Supplement in 1911. The "J.L. White edition" is a treasure chest of old tunes written in the four-shape note system. It contains most of the songs, generally without changes, in the final and largest edition (1869-1870) of B. F. White's The Sacred Harp along with a supplement of around 102 newer songs mostly in the then-emerging gospel style (including some songs popular to this day). Additionally twenty songs were inserted to replace eighteen that had been removed from the main section of the book. With 597 songs, it was the largest Sacred Harp edition to date and was more traditional than the other early 20th century Sacred Harp revisions because of the minimal changes in the main (B.F. White) section, including retention of the three-part harmonies (lacking alto parts) favored by B. F. White. In fact, around 60 per cent of the songs in the book are in three-part harmonizations. Also, it has two Rudiments sections, one at the beginning written by B. F. White and a second one at the end written by J.L. White, evidently an accomplished musician who offered interesting advice to singers. The "White Book" became popular in the northern parts of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, eastern Tennessee, and some parts of south Georgia. It was used by black singers in northern Mississippi. After the book became unavailable, its use became limited to two or three singings each year at Hardeman Primitive Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia. (This background is from R. L. Vaughn and John Plunkett.) A laborious project over several years to retypeset and reprint the White book reached fruition in 2007. The project was managed by a committee headed by John Plunkett. The durable clothbound book, which is suitable for singing, has a cover resembling that of the 1911 book. Outstanding yet faithful retypesetting of the entire book, music and text, was done by singer Karen Willard. All remaining alto clefs and alto-part bass clefs have been replaced by treble clefs. The 2007 Edition of the White Book should be of great interest to Sacred Harp singers, particularly history-minded ones, eager to have a readable and available volume presenting worthy songs found in the 19th century Sacred Harp editions of B.F. White but afterward deleted, and to have four-shape versions of popular late-19th century songs that until now were found only in seven-shape tunebooks. As of January 2016, the book is out of print. While there are no current plans to reprint, the book is available in PDF digital format for viewing on a tablet or eBook, as described immediately below.
Digital version of the J. L. White Sacred Harp, 2007 Edition. Karen Willard announced the following in January 2016: "The hard copy edition of the re-typeset-in-2007 JL White Sacred Harp is freshly available now as a PDF. This PDF is fully searchable for any word, so one can look up authors, composers, words in the lyrics, and tune names as well as to turn immediately to a given song page. To facilitate this latter function, the ordering of the pages was carefully arranged so that the PDF page number matches the page number of the tunes. This can be used on any tablet and Kindles that are the size of the Fire HD and larger. The cost is $10.00. To order, folks should write to Weelyrd_Publishing@weelyrd.net. An invoice will be sent, and folks can then pay either via Paypal, Square, or check. Once payment is received (same day when done electronically) a link will be emailed for the customer to download the book."
Digitized (scanned) version of the 1909 J. L. White Sacred Harp, Fifth Edition. To quote from the Sacred Harp Museum curator Nathan Rees: "The 1909 Sacred Harp, Fifth Edition is the first of J. L. White's three different attempts at revising the Sacred Harp between 1909 and 1911. The book is a rarity in part because it was rejected by most Sacred Harp singers, who felt that White's modernized harmonies and added gospel music ventured too far from tradition. While a contingent of singers continues to use the 2007 version of his moderated 1911 revision, the 1909 "White book" never found sustained use at conventions." The images were prepared from a copy of the book generously donated by Charles Whitmer. A PDF (86 MB) can be downloaded from the relevant web page.
The Sacred Harp, by B. F. White and E. J. King, facsimile reprint of the third edition, 1859-60 published by Reprint Services Corp. This early edition of 432 pages has many of the oldest tunes and anthems in The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition and Cooper Revision, generally on the same page numbers and often without alto parts, and also contains many gems that were deleted from later editions to make space for later compositions. There is a detailed Rudiments section. Introductory essays found in the Broadman Press edition described below (now out of print) are not found in this edition. Library binding with gold lettering. ISBN 0781297257. The price is $89.00 plus $6.00 shipping from the publisher, Reprint Services Corporation, P.O. Box 890820, Temecula, CA 92589, phone 909-699-5731. An alternative is to find the 2007 Edition of The Sacred Harp Fourth Edition With Supplement compiled by J. L. White, son of B. F. White (see item immediately above). This book, unfortunately out of print, has a faithful retypesetting of the entire 1869-70 edition of The Sacred Harp, which includes most of the songs of the 1859 edition plus a supplement of 59 newly added songs.
Websites containing images of the 1859-60 edition of The Sacred Harp:
- A digitized scan is available on IMSLP.
- Buried in an online collection at Michigan State University on "Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in Nineteenth Century America" are seven 19th century hymnals or tunebooks.
The Sacred Harp, by B. F. White and E. J. King, facsimile of the third edition, 1859-60 published by Broadman Press. This facsimile was published in 1968 at the recommendation of the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. In addition to the facsimile of the 432 pages of the 1860 edition, described in the item immediately above, there is a excellent 16-page 1944 essay by George Pullen Jackson, the musicologist who informed the musical world of the Sacred Harp folk tradition in the 1930s. There is also a postscript to Jackson's essay by Prof. William J. Reynolds, who was instrumental in publishing this edition, describing the Sacred Harp scene in 1968. The publisher, Broadman Press, Nashville, TN, 37203, phone 800-458-2772, is out of stock and has no plans to reprint the book. Used copies appear to be for sale on Amazon, but a potential buyer must make sure that the Broadman Press edition is being offered. The 1860 tunebook itself is now available from Reprint Services Corp, and a faithful retypesetting is found in the 2007 Edition of The Sacred Harp Fourth Edition With Supplement compiled by J. L. White (see above).
The Shenandoah Harmony compiled by John del Re, Kelly Macklin, Leyland del Re, Rachel Wells Hall, Nora Miller, Daniel Hunter, Myles Dakan, and Robert Stoddard (adjunct). The 480-page Shenandoah Harmony was published in early 2013 (with a 2012 date) by a committee composed of dedicated and talented Sacred Harp singers active in the mid-Atlantic states, in consultation with musicologists David Warren Steel, Nym Cooke, and Nikos Pappas. The oblong tunebook presents 469 tunes in four-shape notation typeset very legibly for singing, The compilers state that it is the largest new four-shape tunebook published in over 150 years. The core tunes are those of Ananias Davisson of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia published from 1816 to 1825 in his tunebooks Kentucky Harmony and A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony. Beyond this core, the book contains a large and eclectic selection of many other appealing tunes from over 70 late 18th- and early/mid 19th-century New England and frontier tunebooks, some well known to singers but others known mainly to scholars. Many of the tunes are not found in other recently published tunebooks, while others have never before been printed in shaped notes, and still others have been available heretofore only in seven-shape tunebooks. Also included are around 40 tunes by living composers in the shape-note singing community. Although most of the songs have religious texts, there are 18 secular songs. While most tunes are in four-part harmony, there are a significant number of three- and even two-part tunes. Some tunes are presented with new alto parts composed by one of the compilers. Although there is no exact duplication of any song in The Sacred Harp 1991 Edition, there are three songs in the 1991 Sacred Harp with different lyrics, and four variants of tunes in the Sacred Harp. Fifty-three percent of the tunes are in a minor scale. Impressively, the compilers have printed above the beginning of each score a code in small print stating the original source and the page number in that source. The book has become immediately popular among Sacred Harp singers, particularly in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. and in Europe, reflecting the widespread interest in the vast world of compelling shape-note music beyond the Sacred Harp tunebooks. It joins other recently published large four-shape tunebooks (e.g. Northern Harmony, The Missouri Harmony 2005 Edition, The Christian Harmony (of J. Ingalls) 2005 Bicentennial Edition, and The Norumbega Harmony, all listed in this chapter) in satisfying this interest, yet it has little duplication of songs in these other tunebooks. There are already many video and audio field recordings of singing from The Shenandoah Harmony on a YouTube channel and on ShenandoahHarmony.com The compilers also have an active Facebook page. The list price of the book is $22.00 plus shipping. Detailed ordering information and an online store are found on the Shenandoah Harmony website under Buy Books. ISBN: 978-0-615-74366-0
The Shenandoah Harmony Electronic Edition (eBook). The entire tunebook is available as a hyperlinked PDF suitable for use on most digital readers such as iPad and Kindle. Rachel Wells Hall writes, "In addition to the 469 songs in the print book, the eBook has 35 pages of additional indices, including fuller composer and source indices, a chronology of songs, texts sorted by author, and indices of meters, choruses, fugue entrances, and songs with fewer than four parts. All the page numbers in the indices link to the songs. You can also freely print and photocopy most pages of the eBook." More information and instructions for ordering the eBook (for $12.00 using PayPal) are found on the website under eBook.
The Christian Harmony by William Walker and its revisions. The Christian Harmony tunebook was originally published by William Walker in 1867 using his own unique seven-shape notation. This tunebook included some tunes from the earlier Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony but also included many newer tunes. In 1873 Walker published a larger second edition which, in later reprints, became known as the "Carolina book" or "Walker book." Subsequently, a branching of the Christian Harmony family tree occurred. Deason and Parris published in 1958 an extensive revision in the Aikin seven-shape notation system that by then had become standard in Southern gospel singing. It became known as the "Alabama book." In 2010 an edition attempting to unify the Walker and Deason-Parris editions was published in the Aikin notation. These editions and their availability are described in greater detail below:
The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, by William Walker, facsimile of the 1854 edition. First published in 1835 and containing music written in the four-shape notation, this was the most popular shape-note tunebook of the 19th century. It is currently used at the annual Big Singing in Benton, KY, and several new singings. There is a revival of interest in this tunebook, which has not been revised since 1854. This facsimile edition contains an historical introduction with interesting footnotes by Glenn C. Wilcox. The September 1993 reprinting has a sleeve with a CD containing 29 favorite songs sung at Big Singings from 1966 to 1992. Published by the University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-1859-8. The list price is $40, plus shipping. If it unavailable there, look for it on Amazon.com.
Internet Websites containing images of the The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion:
Index to tunes in Southern Harmony, 1835-1854 compiled by Barry Johnston. Mr. Johnson has prepared a table of tunes and the page number(s) in which each appeared in six editions of Southern Harmony and one edition of The Southern and Western Pocket Harmonist: Intended as an Appendix to The Southern Harmony. It is posted in an article in ChoralWiki (Choral Public Domain Library) and on Google Drive as a PDF.
- The Library of Congress has digital images of all pages of the 1847 edition of The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, including the Rudiments. There does not seem to be a front webpage for this collection, so the link here is for page 5, the title page. From there go to any of the 312 pages.
- The Online Southern Harmony by Harry Plantinga. This Website contains images of the score of each song of William Walker's Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1854 edition), along with complete song texts and tune attributions. This resource is in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
- Scanned images of Oberlin College's copy of the 1835 (first) edition of Southern Harmony are found on an Archive.org website. (To turn the scanned pages forward or backward, click on the right or left page, respectively.)
Comparison tune indices for The Southern Harmony and The Sacred Harp (1991 Edition) prepared by Erin L. Fulton. Singing conventions using The Southern Harmony (currently mainly in Kentucky) are often held in association with Sacred Harp singings to attract larger numbers of singers to both. Ms. Fulton's 1- or 2-page handouts are intended to aid singers familiar with only one tunebook when they sing from the other tunebook. In her words: "Southern Harmony for the Sacred Harp Singer" allows you to look up a tune in the 1991 Edition by title and immediately identify the page number of its Southern Harmony equivalent; a couple annexes do the same for tunes found in the 2012 Cooper Book and in Shenandoah Harmony. "Sacred Harp for the Southern Harmony Singer" lists Southern Harmony tune names followed by the relevant 1991 Edition page number. Both documents indicate if the pieces have substantial variation between books and if they appear under different titles in each."
The New Harp of Columbia, Restored Edition, compiled by W. H. and M. L. Swan. This is a new and expanded edition, published in October, 2001, of a seven-shapenote tunebook New Harp of Columbia, which was first published in 1867 in Knoxville, Tennessee and was a successor to The Harp of Columbia (1848). In addition to psalm and folk hymn tunes and fuging tunes found in earlier sources, the relatively "modern" New Harp of Columbia has many hymntunes by mid-19th-century composers Lowell Mason, Thomas Hastings, and M. L. Swan. The Swan seven-shape system is unique to this book. Regular "Harp sings" from this book are held in the Knoxville area in east Tennessee and are announced in the Old Harp Newsletter. The New Harp of Columbia, Restored Edition consists of the facsimile of the 1867 edition plus a new section containing 39 facsimile pages of tunes (39 songs plus five rounds) from the 1848 Harp of Columbia which were omitted from the 1867 New Harp of Columbia. Some of these are old favorites but many have been neglected for 150 years. Also included are the original forward and Rudiments by the Swans, the tune OLD HUNDRED as it appeared in the 1848 book with different treble and alto lines from the 1867 book, new forwards to the Restored Edition by Larry Olszewski and Bruce Wheeler, and extra lyrics sung by recent Old Harp singers. The Restored Edition was compiled by a group of New Harp of Columbia singers including Larry Olszewski, Bruce Wheeler, and Bob Richmond. The cloth hardcover volume has 274 pages. It is published by the University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN. ISBN 1-57233-128-3. The price from the publisher is $38.00 plus shipping. To order, call the distribution center at 1-800-621-2736. Copies are also available for sale at cost at New Harp of Columbia singings and perhaps at some major Sacred Harp conventions. For more information, check the New Harp of Columbia Shape Note Singers Website.
The Colored Sacred Harp compiled by Judge Jackson. A four-shape tunebook originally compiled in 1934 in Ozark, AL, and used by black Wiregrass Sacred Harp singers in southern Alabama. It contains 77 tunes written by black composers in Alabama, such as FLORIDA STORM and is used in addition to the Cooper revision in black singings. A short history of the book and rudiments section, both by H. Japheth Jackson, son of Judge Jackson, are in later editions. The book was reprinted in 1992 (and perhaps later), and copies were sold by the Jackson family to many singers nationwide. New copies are not currently available. A fine CD featuring the Wiregrass Singers singing from this book was issued in 1993 (see the chapter Recent Recordings of Traditional Singings).
The Missouri Harmony, 2005 Edition, compiled originally by Allen Carden and revised by Wings of Song. The St. Louis Shape-Note Singers (operating as Wings of Song) have prepared and published a new and substantial revision of the Missouri Harmony, one of the most important early American four-shape tunebooks, first published in 1820. (For more history, see item immediately below -- the 1846 edition.). To create the 2005 Edition, the publication committee removed the 1835 Supplement and around 64 tunes that appear in essentially the same form in The Sacred Harp. To the remaining 120 tunes, they added a Supplement of 60 tunes, of which 24 are old tunes (both of New England and Southern origin) that were not easily accessible to midwestern singers and 36 are compositions by living composers. The total number of tunes is thus 180. (These numbers are courtesy of Berkley Moore.) The modern tunes include some already well-known ones by composers such as Dan Brittain, Judy Hauff, John Bayer, Ted Johnson, and Hal Kunkel. All music has been typeset by Dan Brittain with editing by Emily Gruber and others. The easy readability of the scores and the rugged cloth binding are ideal for use at singings. There are also interesting introductory essays (with photos) on the history of The Missouri Harmony (by Peter Ellertsen and Karen Isbell), the revival of Sacred Harp singing in the midwest (Judy Hauff), and the history of the St. Louis Shape-Note Singers (by Ann T. Leckie). The book is 384 pages and is published by Missouri Historical Society Press. ISBN 1883982545. List price $29.95. Lower prices have been found at online booksellers such as Amazon.com or when purchased in person from St. Louis singers, who do not accept mail orders.
The Missouri Harmony, compiled by Allen D. Carden, facsimile reprint of the 1846 edition. This important four-shape tunebook, first published in 1820, was widely used in the Missouri Territory and was reportedly the tunebook from which the young Abe Lincoln sang. Editions after 1850 were revised to include gospel tunes and "corrected" harmony. The 1846 edition, which contains a number of fine tunes in the old style not found in other currently available tunebooks, was reprinted in 1994 in softbound form. It also includes the 1835 Supplement of 38 pages of more "genteel" music. The reprint contains a new introduction by Missouri Harmony expert Prof. Shirley Bean. This edition is not well suited for singing because of the poor legibility of the original score and the glued-spine softbound binding. The book is now out of print. In 2005 the St. Louis Singers published the Missouri Harmony 2005 Edition (see item immediately above).
The Harmonia Sacra, by Joseph Funk and sons, 25th Edition, compiled by James Nelson Gingerich. This important tunebook was initially published in 1832 by Funk as A Compilation of Genuine Church Music to serve the Mennonite community of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley area. It initially used the four-shape system, but with the fifth edition in 1851 it adopted a seven-shape system and the name Harmonia Sacra. An expanded, beautifully hardbound, and oblong 25th edition was published in November 1993 and includes the following: Funk's Rudiments and Elucidation of Vocal Music (46 pages and not published since the 1870s), all the material found in the first four-part edition (the 12th edition of 1867), and 27 three-part four-shape songs from the first two editions. All musical pages are facsimiles from previous Editions; however, many typesetting errors in song texts were corrected to help in singing. It is out of print and available through online booksellers. The Harmonia Sacra, 26th Edition published in 2008 is the preferred edition to buy and use according to Dr. Gingerich, ISBN 1-56148-104-1. (Note the excellent 1994 publication The Harmonia Sacra Handbook by James Nelson Gingerich and Matthew Lind, described in the section Books and Articles about Shape Note Music.)
The Harmonia Sacra, by Joseph Funk and sons, 26th Edition, edited, designed, and typeset by James Nelson Gingerich. The 26th Edition, a remarkable labor of love, differs from the 25th mainly by the new typesetting of all of the musical scores in the seven-shape notation (Funk's unique system used in previous editions, not the Aikin system), enabling easier reading compared to the previous facsimile reproductions. The songs with four-shape notation reintroduced in the 25th edition are also retypeset in the seven-shape system. The Rudiments have also been retypeset. There are occasional corrections and composer/author attributions not shown in the earlier editions. Only one song differs between the editions. ISBN 0-9840601-0-3. To order a copy to be mailed to a U.S. address, send a check for $30.00 to James Gingerich, 218 S. 8th Street, Goshen, IN 46528. Include your postal address and e-mail address. For deliveries to Canada and elsewhere, e-mail Will Fitzgerald first.
The Harmonia Sacra, by Joseph Funk and sons, 26th Edition, online in four- and seven-shape notations, edited, designed, and typeset by James Nelson Gingerich in collaboration with Will Fitzgerald. The online edition has the user option of selecting Funk's seven-shape notation or the fasola four-shape notation for each song. The Rudiments, many indices (including incipit index), and minutes of Harmonia Sacra singings in Elkhart, IN are presented as well.
The Social Harp, by John G. McCurry, facsimile edition reprinted (2008) in paperback. An 1855 important four-shape tunebook from rural Georgia with 222 both secular and spiritual songs in three-part harmony for singing schools, camp-meetings, and revivals. Some well-known songs are found here, such as "Weeping Mary," "Parting Friends," "To the Land," and "Wake Up." About half of the songs in the book were written or harmonized by John McCurry and friends. The 1973 facsimile edition, published in hardback by the University of Georgia Press, was prepared by Daniel Patterson and John Garst. Mr. Patterson's extensive Introduction provides interesting biographical and historical information. Although the hardbound facsimile edition has been long out of print, the publisher in 2008 has reissued the 1973 edition in the form of a handsome paperback edition, apparently through their print-on-demand service. This edition includes the Forward and Introduction by Garst and Patterson. ISBN 0820331511. The list price is $29.95. It is also available from Amazon.com.
The Christian Harmony or Songster's Companion by Jeremiah Ingalls, Bicentennial 2005 Edition edited by Thomas B. Malone. Ingalls' The Christian Harmony, published with round rather than shaped notes in 1805 in Vermont, contains some of the earliest examples of folk hymns and spirituals that combined folk and popular melodies with sacred texts and poetry. Tom Malone, a composer, music educator, and singer, published in 2005 an edition containing the entire contents of Ingalls' 1805 work reset in modern type using four-shape notation. Furthermore, this edition includes an extensive appendix (called "Connexion" after Mr. Malone's singing group) of nearly 60 additional tunes by 18th century New England masters (including Billings, Swan, Read, Belcher, and Holden) and 20th century composers (including Bruce Randall, Glen Wright, Tom Malone, and Neely Bruce). Finally, Mr. Malone compiled a highly illuminating table relating tunes in the 1805 Christian Harmony to similar ones in the Sacred Harp 1991 Edition. This 260-page book with a spiral-bound flexible cover is a "performing edition" for use in singing (including traditional shape-note singing). Although it is self-published with no ISBN, this is an excellent, well-produced volume which can bring to modern singers readable scores of many worthy songs that deserve greater notice. The book is unfortunately out of print. Direct inquiries to Dr. Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Harmony: Inspired Choral Miniatures from New England, Appalachia, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and the Midwest, compiled, edited, and introduced by Nym Cooke. Noted scholar of New England psalmody and choral conductor Nym Cooke published in 2017 an exceptionally attractive two-volume anthology of 176 tunes described by him as the "cream of the crop" according to his judgment of musical quality. This magnum opus presents many well-known tunes but also some "finds" rescued from obscurity. Volume One has New England tunes from 1770-1815, while Volume Two has pieces from Appalachia, the South, and other areas from 1813-2008, along with commentary about tunes in both volumes. Mr. Cooke reported that 65 tunes in this collection are not found in any of five popular 4-shape tunebooks. Remarkably, the anthology is intended for both scholarship and performance. Most tunes are from the late 18th and early/mid 19th centuries, but 11 are by contemporary composers. All are typeset in four-shape musical notation. Where possible, first printings were used the sources of the pieces. Some tunes are presented with more verses than other tunebooks typically have. The anthology includes informative introductions for newcomers, 100 illustrations (mostly portraits of composers and scores from original editions), and extensive commentary (in volume 2) about each tune. The commentaries include tune source, text, performance suggestions, and fascinating historical information listed under "General." Volume 2 also includes often lengthy biographies of composers and arrangers, music and text sources, reference sources, and multiple indices. Each oblong volume is large in format (9.5 by 12 inches) and substantial, but lightweight enough for use in singing and choral performance. Although the covers are soft, the inside pages are sewn and tightly bound to the spine so that the book can be opened flat without damage to the binding. The volumes come in an attractive slipcase. Included is a CD recording of 35 songs sung by Mr. Cooke's own professional (and vibratoed) chamber choir American Harmony. This anthology is not intended to be another typical tunebook to supplement existing shape-note tunebooks, but instead to be a scholarly as well as performing edition for (in Mr. Cooke's words) professional and community choruses, vocal ensembles in schools and colleges, church choirs, shape-note groups, and gatherings of friends. Apparently as a concession to target groups, Mr. Cooke has labeled the top vocal part "soprano" or S rather than "treble" on every score and in the commentaries. As one of the few in-print performing anthologies featuring a broad range of psalmody compiled by a scholar with academic credentials in this genre, this collection should be particularly appealing to academic and church choir directors reluctant to use tunebooks compiled by traditional or amateur shape-note singers. ISBN: 978-1-56792-559-3. The price is $65.00 per copy, plus shipping. Choral and singing groups should inquire about quantity pricing. Order copies from the publisher David Godine.
An American Christmas Harp, Third Edition, 2009, compiled by Karen Willard. This is a beautiful, valuable, and unique compilation of most of the worthy 18th- and early 19th-century American shape-note Christmas songs, compiled by musicologist and devoted alto singer Karen Willard of the Seattle area and first published in December 1994. This tunebook are now widely used in singing circles around the nation to access the rich world of shape-note Christmas music, of which only a few examples are found in The Sacred Harp. In the words of Ms. Willard: "This collection is made up of songs with sacred Christmas words from the mostly rural, mostly non-denominational, mostly shapenote American oblong tunebooks of the eighteenth through twentieth centuries." The third edition has 97 tunes (an increase of 9 tunes from the previous edition), of which 30 are minor-scale songs and one is mixolydian. Ninety-two of the tunes are in four parts; five are in three parts. Ten tunes were dropped from this edition, all of which will be placed online as PDFs for those wishing to sing them. Several more songs from British traditions have been added to this edition. The book has a spiral wire binding and heavy cardboard cover. ISBN 978-1-61584-532-3. The price is $18.00 plus $4.00 shipping for a single copy mailed to U.S. addresses, or $16.00 each on orders of ten or more, plus shipping depending on the destination. It is also available as a PDF ($10) suitable for loading onto a tablet such as an iPad. Payment is made by cash, check, or Paypal (for which an e-mail address is required). Contact Weelyrd Publishing by e-mail at Weelyrd_Publishing-at-weelyrd-dot-net (don't overlook the underscore line between Weelyrd and Publishing). The mailing address is 15215 Tubbs Rd., Buckley, WA 98321.
Music for Christmas and Midwinter, compiled by James P. Page. Mr. Page of Madison, Wisconsin, published this interesting and valuable four-shape note tunebook in late 2017 and describes it as an outgrowth of his still unfinished tunebook, The North American Harmony. It is a collection of 37 tunes, mostly early North American Christmas music originally published in the U.S. and Canada, but it also includes two tunes by William Knapp from the English parish church (West Gallery) tradition, several Cornish folk carols, and seven tunes composed or arranged by Mr. Page himself. Most of the texts remain unmodernized except for the use of inclusive language, while one tune by Mr. Page is set to a vegetarianized version of the "Boar's Head Carol." The collection is a result of years of research by Mr. Page, as evidenced in his informative Introduction, Tune Commentaries, and Bibliography. He writes, "While some of the music will be familiar to shape-note singers from other sources, several tunes are good but obscure and represent real 'finds.'" Only a few of the tunes are also found in An American Christmas Harp by Karen Willard (see immediately above), so singers interested in Christmas/winter shape-note music should purchase both. This softbound book has a spiral binding and a large format (8.5" x 11") with musical scores that are easy to read and sing from. The price is $15.00 per book plus $6.00 shipping to U.S. addresses for one or two books. Order from James P. Page, 4806 Regent St., Apt. 116A, Madison, WI 53705. Address questions to Mr. Page at shapebrain at yahoo dot com.
The Norumbega Harmony: Historic and Contemporary Hymn Tunes and Anthems from the New England Singing School Tradition, by Stephen A. Marini, with Susan Mampre, Dennis O'Brien, Bruce Randall, Glen Wright, and Jane Zanichkowsky. Published in late 2003 after a decade of research and production work, this sturdy hardbound oblong tunebook of 325 pages presents shape-note editions (using the four-shape system) of 106 early American choral works and 30 new compositions from living composers active in the shape-note singing revival. The editors write, "the historic scores have been constructed directly from the first editions and use the texts originally set by the composers. Most of these tunes have not been published since the early 19th century and are not available in other tunebooks currently in print. Virtually all of the contemporary tunes appear here for the first time." The collection contains the following chapters and prominently featured composers: I. Boston (W. Billings, O. Holden); II. Massachusetts (A. Wood, J. French, J. Kimball, T. Swan); III. Connecticut (O. Brownson, A. Benham, D. Read); IV. Maine (S. Belcher, A. Maxim); Vermont, New York (E. West, N. Shumway, J. Storm, J. Ingalls); VI. West and South (L. Chapin and W. Walker); and VII. Contemporary Tunes (S. Marini, B. Randall, D. and L. O'Brien, N. Bruce, G. Wright). (There are also tunes by many other composers not listed here.) The Forward is by musicologist Nym Cooke. The Introduction by Prof. Marini (of Wellesley College) is a highly informative summary of the New England singing school movement and performance practices. At the end of the book are excellent commentaries on the tunes and texts, and indices of scripture, theological themes, meters, authors, composers, first lines, and tune titles. Prof. Marini is the founder and director of the Norumbega Harmony, a Boston-based amateur choral group specializing in early American choral music. This tunebook is a "must" for anyone interested in the vast body of beautiful New England singing school music, only a small fraction of which is found in Southern shape-note tunebooks. Published by the University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 1-57806-611-5. List price $25.00. It is available from online booksellers such as Amazon.com and also directly from Norumbega Harmony by mailing in an order form available on their Website.
The Georgian Harmony: A Collection of Hymns and Fuging Tunes in the Shape-Note Tradition, Second Edition by Raymond C. Hamrick. Mr. Hamrick (1915-2014) of Macon, GA, a composer of six beloved songs in The Sacred Harp 1991 Edition as well as a master watchmaker and gemologist, composed much music in the Sacred Harp style over the past 50 years. The South Georgia Sacred Harp Singing Convention, spearheaded by John Plunkett and the Hollingsworth family, published 92 of these tunes, most of which were not previously published, in a 118-page hardbound oblong book issued in 2010. The greatly expanded Second Edition published in 2012 contains many more tunes by Mr. Hamrick on a total of 250 pages. The tunes are printed in four-shape notation with excellent typesetting. The book also contains drawings by Justin Squizzerro and Sara Lynch-Thomason and brief commentary about the churches for which tunes were named. The first and second editions have been very well received received by Sacred Harp singers. A video of the inaugural singing from the spiralbound edition of the tunebook is posted on the Web.) The price of the Second Edition is $25.00 each plus $5.00 each for shipping by U.S. mail. A box of 12 books is $300.00 plus $15 shipping to U.S. addresses. Make checks payable to The Georgian Harmony, and mail orders to John Hollingsworth, 1574 Adams Clarke Rd., Commerce, GA 30530. Send inquiries to Bill Hollingsworth at bill-at-billh-dot.us.
Northern Harmony: Plain Tunes, Hymns, and Anthems from the New England Singing School Tradition and the Contemporary Shape-Note Tradition, Fifth Edition, 2012 edited by Larry Gordon and Anthony G. Barrand. The Fifth Edition of this popular tunebook was published in late 2012 by the Northern Harmony Publishing Co./Village Harmony, headed by Larry Gordon and Patty Cuyler. Continuing a trend, the new edition is larger than its predecessor, the 1999 Fourth Edition, with 160 tunes typeset in four-shape notation, including 55 newly added tunes. Half of the tunes are by early New England composers from the years 1770-1810 (for example, Supply Belcher, Eliakim Doolittle, Jeremiah Ingalls, Timothy Swan, and Justin Morgan), most of them otherwise not available in modern shape-note editions. The other half are by living composers writing in the Sacred Harp/shape-note style (for example, Tim Eriksen, Bruce Randall, Aldo Ceresa, Neely Bruce, Jesse P. Karlsberg, Glen Wright, and some talented young singers associated with Larry Gordon's singing groups). A number of songs found in the Third and Fourth Editions are not in the Fifth Edition. All songs were newly typeset for improved legibility. Hardcover or PDF, 334 pages. There is an excellent historical introduction and a valuable and interesting section of detailed composer biographies. However, the book may be now available only as online PDFs, as the Village Harmony online store transitions to offering mostly digital products. Recordings of songs from Northern Harmony sung by singers under Larry Gordon over the years are available on the Northern Harmony Bandcamp site.
The Psalmist's Harp by Mitchell Stecker. This unique compilation, completed in late 2019 and available in 2020 as a hardbound oblong-shaped tunebook and online as a free PDF download, presents metrical paraphrases of all 150 psalms in the Bible, in order, set to historical or contemporary fasola shape-note tunes. The psalm texts used are from many diverse sources, but in most cases only 1-3 verses are presented with the tune scores because of space constraints. The tunes, which are typeset in four-shape notation with melodies in the tenor part, are mostly drawn from 19th-century tunebooks (almost two dozen, both well known and little known), while around 35 tunes are contemporary (34 by Mr. Stecker himself and one by Micah Walter). The matching of texts with tunes is usually different from what exists in the historic shape-note tunebooks. There are indices for tune sources, text sources, and first lines of text. In Mr. Stecker's words, "This compilation is intended as a contribution to the longstanding and vibrant tradition of shape note psalmody, and conforms to historical conventions in many ways, but is unique in presenting, for apparently the first time in history, the entire psalter, in order, all set in the style and notation of the fasola tradition." The physical tunebook should be useful for singers in both church choirs and shape-note circles. Limited numbers of printed books are available by contacting Mr. Stecker through his Kickstarter campaign page and pledging at least $25. He is also seeking feedback about the online version to identify errors, etc. He has a Facebook page for The Psalmist's Harp where he has posted a photo of the printed book.
Kentucky Harmony (1816), by Ananias Davisson, facsimile edition. One of the most important early tunebooks. Davisson actually lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia rather than Kentucky. The book was the first truly Southern shapenote tunebook. The introduction by Irving Lowens is an excellent brief history of shape-note singing. This reproduction had been available for $24.00 postpaid from the publisher, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 426 S. 5th St., Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440 (phone 612-330-3300), but it has permanently gone out of print recently. Copies may be available on Amazon.
A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony by Ananias Davisson, Third Edition 1825, online images compiled by Hans Bayer and Berkley Moore. The 150-page Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony is an historically important tunebook, because unlike the original The Kentucky Harmony it included beautiful previously unpublished harmonized tunes of folk origin, including revival tunes. The Supplement was never reprinted in facsimile form in recent times, so the online scans of Bayer and Moore are a useful resource. These scans are available as a single large PDF (97 MB) generated by Robert Stoddard and found on his BostonSing.org website.
A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony by Ananias Davisson, Third Edition 1825, completely retypeset by Robert Stoddard (online). The important Supplement includes many beautiful harmonized tunes of folk origin not previously published, but the original scores were difficult to read when singing. Mr. Stoddard has completely reset the entire Supplement (142 songs) with modern legible scores and texts (generated by Lilypond software) optimized for use by singers. He has corrected obvious errors in the original. His high quality working draft of all of the book (163 pages) is found as a PDF (3.3 MB) on his website under the subtitle SupplKtHarmony.
Songs of Zion compiled by James P. Carrell, 1821, online images. This tunebook had been considered "lost" by contemporary scholars until a copy was recently obtained by the University of Virginia library, which has placed scanned images of the books pages on its website for free downloading. Rachel Hall noticed the catalog entry, enlisted the help of John Alexander to request imaging of the book, and wrote, "Songs of Zion is a 64-page collection of shape-note tunes published by Ananias Davisson one year after his A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony. Unlike A Supplement and most other contemporary shape-note tunebooks, which contain folk hymn arrangements and compositions by several people, Songs of Zion claims to consist almost entirely of Carrell's own arrangements or compositions. It gives us a rare opportunity to study one Shenandoah Valley composer in depth."
The Hesperian Harp: a Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, Odes and Anthems by William Hauser, 1848, online images compiled by Berkley Moore. The Herperian Harp by William Hauser is one of the most important 19th century tunebooks. As Berkley Moore writes, it "is the largest and arguably the best of the shape-note tune books of the Nineteenth Century." The songs are written in the four-shape fasola notation, are stylistically similar to those found in The Sacred Harp, and include many composed by Hauser himself. Berkley Moore has scanned all 552 pages of this tunebook including the Preface and Indices. Scanned images from this tunebook are also accessible on IMSLP and the Sounding Spirit Digital Library.
The Olive Leaf, compiled by William Hauser and Benjamin Turner (1878), digital images prepared by John and Hans Bayer. The Olive Leaf is an important collection of tunes presented in the Aikin seven-shape notation. It contains many new songs not in William Hauser's earlier opus, The Hesperian Harp (see above). A facsimile edition was never printed, but now the book has been scanned and images placed online. Berkley Moore writes: "The Olive Leaf" is set in a format occasionally used for round-note books in the Nineteenth Century, but almost unique in shape-note books. There are three staves with the top staff containing the part that Sacred Harp singers would consider the treble and the bottom staff containing the bass. The middle staff, however, contains two parts, the tune's melody on top and the alto part below it."
The New Millennium Harp compiled by Lisa Grayson. This collection, published in 2001, contains 94 previously unpublished shape-note compositions by talented living composers, some already household names in the Sacred Harp community and others who may become so. This mixed-format tunebook (some tunes in traditional oblong format, others in upright) features a variety of music in the Sacred Harp genre, including fuging tunes, rearrangements of old songs, and even an anthem, typeset or handwritten in four-shape notation, selected, and published by prominent Chicago alto singer Lisa Grayson. Although the tunebook is out-of-print, a few remaining copies may still be available from Ms. Grayson. Contact her at lisa dot grayson at att dot net.
An Eclectic Harmony, subtitled "A collection of four-shape tunes, old and new, in a great variety of styles and metres from sources additional to the Denson Revision of The Sacred Harp, submitted for the spiritual upliftment and enjoyment of the discerning public." This tunebook, published in 1999 in Atlanta, contains 100 worthy and often popular tunes compiled from the Missouri Harmony (14 tunes), The Southern Harmony (14 tunes), The Social Harp (12 tunes), The Cooper Revision of The Sacred Harp (23 tunes), The White Revision of The Sacred Harp (11 tunes), Northern Harmony (eight tunes), An American Christmas Harp (eight tunes), English West Gallery sources (two tunes), contributions from the Lee Family of Hoboken, Georgia (five tunes), and three additional contemporary tunes. It was compiled by a music committee composed of Liz Bryant (chair), Judy Mincey, Lee Rogers, Laura Akerman, John Plunkett, Don Bowen, and Sharon Kellam. While most tunes are reproduced photographically from the source tunebooks, some were retypeset for legibility. The book offers a tantalizing glimpse of the broader world of shape-note music. Although it was reprinted several times, it is currently out of print, and there are no plans for another reprinting.
An Eclectic Harmony II , subtitled "A collection of tunes in a great variety of styles and meters from early seven-shape songbooks in use today and new compositions." This sequel to An Eclectic Harmony (above) was issued in June, 2001. Containing 67 tunes, it features predominantly music from tunebooks using the seven-shape notation, including New Harp of Columbia, Harmonia Sacra, and the two Christian Harmony editions (from North Carolina and Alabama; see descriptions above). Historical notes written by Berkley Moore precede the presented songs from each tunebook. At the top of each page are keys relating notehead shape to syllable (do, re, me, etc.) to aid singers in reading the different systems. There is a section on the alto part in shape-note music with notes by Berkley Moore and two songs (LIBERTY by S. Jenks with his own alto part, and PILGRIM from The Southern Minstrel (1849) with alto part by Warren Steel. The section entitled "New Songs and Arrangements" contains ten compositions, seven of which are in four-shape notation. This tunebook was compiled by a Music Committee of Sharon Kellam and Berkley Moore (co-chairs), Larry Beveridge, Liz Bryant, Dan Huger, Willie Israel, Regina Marshall, Judy Mincey, John Plunkett, and Lee Rogers. The remaining unsold copies of this tunebook have been turned over to the Joe Beasley Memorial Foundation. The Foundation proposes to make the books available, in quantity and at no charge, to people who will use them either on a regular basis at their own singings or by bringing them to the "Alternative Singings" that are a feature of some conventions. This is being done by virtue of special donations to the Foundation for this purpose. Requests should be made to Richard L. Schmeidler, Treasurer, Joe Beasley Memorial Foundation, Inc., 17 Bartlett Ave., Arlington, MA 02476. For more information or inquiries about individual copies, contact Mr. Schmeidler at schmeidler-at-alum-dot-calberkeley-dot-org.
September Psalms: The Shape-Note Community Remembers, edited by Christopher Noren. This remarkable tunebook, published in early 2002, is the brainchild of Massachusetts shape-note singer, composer, and scientist Chris Noren, who writes: "This collection is lovingly dedicated to the memory of the 3000 people who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the thousands who have lost their lives since...." The spiralbound, 68 page collection includes 26 original tunes (including three anthems) by living composers, most of which were written after Sept. 11. The collection also includes seven 18th and 19th century American revival tunes and patriotic songs, for a total of 33 songs. The new tunes in the book [all in the four-shape notehead system] were submitted by composers from New England, New York, Chicago, Arkansas, Texas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Seattle, California, and the U.K. The cover of the book features a "photomosaic" of the pre-9/11 New York skyline, made up of hundreds of Tom Mitchell's photographs taken at Sacred Harp singings in 2001. The book sold for $10.00 with all of the proceeds being donated to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund." The book contains two well written short essays, "Forward about Moving Forward" and "Shape Notes and the Sacred Harp Tradition." In 2005 the book went out of print. Hopefully it will be reprinted in the near future.
The Sacred Harper's Companion, compiled by Glen Wright and Susan Mampre. This four-shape tunebook, sometimes called "The Harper's Companion" by the compilers and others, was published in early October 1993 and contains 27 excellent works by 13 living shape-note composers from around the country, namely P. Dan Brittain, Neely Bruce, Jim Carnes, Raymond Hamrick, Judy Hauff, John Hocutt, Ted Johnson, Hugh McGraw, Dennis O'Brien, Bob Parr, Bruce Randall, Mimi Stevens, and Glen Wright. Many of these composers have one or more songs published in the 1991 Edition of The Sacred Harp. The songs reflect a wide variety of styles within the rubric of the Sacred Harp tradition. The music is beautifully and clearly computer-typeset by the authors using a shape-note font designed by them. This book is likely no longer available. Mail inquiries to Musica, 8 Briarwood Rd., Rutland, MA 01543-1754.
The Complete Works of William Billings, edited by Hans Nathan (Vol. II) and Karl Kroeger (Vols. I, III, IV), with editorial consultant Richard Crawford. This four-volume set published between 1977 and 1990 by the American Musicological Society and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, contains the complete prodigious output (over 300 works) of America's first significant composer, beautifully retypeset in round notes with many photographs of pages from the original tunebooks. All essays, including instructional and light-hearted ones, in Billings' original publications are also presented. There are accompanying extensive scholarly articles with bibliographies about Billings and his music. The 9" x 12" thick handsomely bound volumes are well worth their cost to all motivated students of early American music.
Volume IV was reprinted in 2013, and the entire set is available from the American Musicological Society for a bargain price of $35.00 per volume plus shipping and handling. The entire set of four volumes sells for $126 plus shipping and handling.
Scholarly editions on early American psalmody published by A-R Editions, Inc. These scholarly, high-quality, softbound, 9" x 12" performing editions featuring important composers, a few of whose works are found in shape-note tunebooks such as The Sacred Harp, contain both music (in round notes) and scholarly, authoritative text. For information, contact A-R Editions, Madison, WI, Phone 800-736-0070. The list prices change periodically and thus are not listed here, but they are very high. These editions are sometimes sold at big discounts at some professional musical conferences.
Music of the New American Nation: Sacred Music from 1780-1820. A series of scholarly editions. The general editor is Karl Kroeger. This 15-volume hardbound series was published by Garland over the period 1996-1998. The Garland catalog at the time stated as follows: "Readily accessible and easy to follow, the music in each volume is presented in modern form so that it can be instantly understood and sung by a congregation, a choir, a class, a club, or an individual. Each volume includes an introduction to the music, editorial notes, and a section on performance practice that covers the basic elements of the choral sound, the effect of the lyrics, the musical symbols used, ornamentation, and accompaniment....In this series, the full text of the music has been set in all voices....The 23 composers represented in this series were among the most prominent of the several hundred who contributed to the psalmody repertory. They were important and influential in their day and composed music of lasting value that has interest and artistic worth that have survived to our own time. Many of these composers have the whole of their published music presented in the series. Having these neglected works appear in uniform modern format will facilitate the assessment of their musical contributions by scholars and provide performers with the widest possible selection of significant but long-neglected works." ISBN for the entire set: 0-8153-2209-7. The books are now listed under the Routledge imprint of the Taylor and Francis Group. Prices of the printed books, some of which are now out of print, have been high (now around $160) to help minimize sales. However, some are now available as e-books more reasonably priced (~$52 to buy, less to rent). Check availability on the webpage for each book.
Shape-Note transcriptions of tunes originally published in round notes by early American composers, transcribed by Barry Johnston. Mr. Johnston has transcribed into four-shape notes hundreds of tunes by William Billings, Daniel Read, Timothy Swan, Oliver Holden, William Tansur, James Lyon, and others who published in standard round notes. He has posted these on the Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL) on Choral-Wiki. He has posted both round-note and shape-note scores, most or all in treble/counter/tenor/bass parts with one staff per part. This resource is useful to singers interested in early American music who prefer to sing from shape-note scores.
A Dispersed Harmony compiled by David G. Jensen. This is an online (pdf) compendium (originally named An Ecumenical Harmony) of 40 early American hymns, fuging tunes, anthems, and set pieces of both New England and Southern origin, typeset very legibly in standard round notation suitable for choirs and church congregations. The voice parts and harmonies generally have not been altered, and the melody is retained in the tenor part. However, around half of the songs have texts different from those in the shape-note tunebooks. Many of the hymns are in three rather than four parts. Some updating was done in 2019. The pdf is accessed from the website of publications of David G.Jensen.
Awake to Joy! Christmas Carols for Part-Singing, compiled by Nym Cooke. This is a collection of 57 carols, about half of which are early American and some of which unavailable anywhere else, presented with faithfulness to the original score in mostly SATB format with keyboard reduction and multiple stanzas of underlaid text. There are carols by Moors, Walker, Billings, Belcher, Doolittle, Child, Humphreys, Janes, Holyoke/French, Bushnell, Swan, Stephenson, McCurry/Massengale, Breedlove, Read, Knapp, Storm, and contemporary composers Bruce Randall and Nym Cooke. There are also eight Yorkshire pub carols transcribed and arranged by the compiler. Awake to Joy! Vol. 2 contains 40 carols from a wide variety of sources, including a few from early American tunebooks. These books published by Nym Cooke are available from the Revels online bookstore.
Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music and Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second. These important early four-shape tunebooks, published by John Wyeth in 1810 and 1813, were reprinted in facsimile edition in 1964 by Da Capo Press. They include songs that are both found and not found in The Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony. Part 1 has 148 pages. Part 2 has 140 pages. ISBN for the set of two is 0686858549. They are regrettably out of print, but used copies may be found through online booksellers. Digitized scans of the entire Wyeth's Repository Part 1 from the Princeton Theological Seminary Library are available for free download on the Internet Archive website. Digitized scans of the entire Wyeth's Repository Part 2 are now available as a free download on IMSLP, courtesy of Fynn Titford-Mock.
The Christian Harmony, by Jeremiah Ingalls (1805). A 1981 facsimile of this important New England tunebook, written in round notes by a foremost early American composer, is edited by David Klocko. ISBN 0-306-79617-1. 200 pages. It is not to be confused with two Southern shape-note tunebooks of the same name (see above). It was published by Da Capo Press but is now out of print. A bicentennial edition of Ingalls' Christian Harmony newly typeset with shaped noteheads (using the four-shape system) was published in 2005 by Thomas Malone. See paragraph earlier in this chapter.
Harmony of Maine, by Supply Belcher. A reprint of this 1794 collection by a foremost New England composer. It was written before the days of shaped notes, but some of Belcher's music later got into shape-note tune books. ISBN 0306-773066. It was published by Da Capo Press but is now out of print. Currently digital scans of each page of this tunebook are freely available on the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library.
Warren's Minstrel, by J. S. Warren. This interesting seven-shape tunebook containing 140 songs, including New England fuging and psalm tunes as well as folk hymns, was first published in 1857 in southeastern Ohio. The facsimile edition edited by John L. Brasher with an extensive introduction was published in 1984 by the Ohio University Press but has gone out of print. ISBN 0821406817. The remaining unsold books may still be available from Prof. Richard D. Wetzel, who recently retired from Ohio University, but the very few left are now collector's items. Send inquiries to wetzel-at-ohio-dot-edu or Quaker Hill Enterprises, Box 206, Chesterhill, Ohio 43728.
The Psalm-Singer's Amusement, by William Billings. A 1974 facsimile reprint of this 1781 collection of amusing choral compositions, with an introduction by H. Wiley Hitchcock. 104 pages, ISBN 0-306-70587-7. It was published by Da Capo Press but is now out of print. Currently digital scans of each page of this tunebook are freely available on the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library.
Digitized tunebooks compiled by Joseph S. James in addition to The Original Sacred Harp 1911 Edition (described above). Pitts Theology Library at Emory University in 2011 prepared complete scans of two other tunebooks published by James. Both present tunes in the standard Sacred-Harp style four-shape notation with melody in the tenor.
Primitive Baptist hymnals containing early American hymns and tunes: These hymnals contain shape-note and older gospel tunes, with music written using the Aikin seven-shape notehead system but in conventional hymnal format with the melody on top (soprano part). The original open harmonies are often preserved. Many tunes have texts different from those in the early American tunebooks. Because the format is readable by a keyboardist, these hymnals are useful to those who wish to play the songs alone on a piano or organ (which, to be sure, would never be done in a Primitive Baptist church):
Plain Circle Tune Book, compiled by John Bayer, Jr. and Karen Willard. This compact 220-page soft-bound book is a collection of tunes, organized by meter and title, used among plain folks of the (Old) Brethren, German Baptist, Mennonite, and Primitive Baptist denominations who use words-only hymnals (such as the ones listed above) in their worship services. The music, nicely typeset by Karen Willard in the seven-shape Aikin system used by these folks, consists of the melody lines of 279 tunes, presented without texts. Mr. Bayer's purposes for the book are "to create a handy resource guide for folks who mainly use words-only hymnals" and "to collect in one place the tunes in use among these folks both now and in the past." The size of the book is 7 x 4 inches, about the same as the Lloyd's Primitive Hymns. This book may still be available. Order from Hans or Jubal Bayer, 9555 W. Third St., Dayton, Ohio 45427. The original prices were $7.95 each postpaid for 1-9 copies and $7.25 each postpaid for 10 or more copies.
The Liturgical Harp e-book compiled by Duncan Vinson presents 52 tune settings with 62 hymn texts from the common repertory shared between early American shape-note tunebooks and church hymnals in a format for singing by church choirs. The tunes are presented in the shape-note style with four-shape noteheads and melody in the tenor; however, the main melody is the variant found in current church hymnals rather than in the early American tunebooks. There are also several well-known hymn tunes with roots in English and Welsh folksong that are presented, probably for the first time, in shape notes. Three examples of this work are presented on the website. The e-book is available as a downloadable PDF for $15. A sampler containing seven tunes is available for $5. An order form is found on the website.
The Children's Harp, a shape-note board book for the very young, printed on demand. Mark Miller designed a 16-page board book for presenting shape-note music to young children. The book is printed to order from 8 PDFs found on the book's webpage. One uploads the PDFs to Pint Size Productions, and the book is printed (single copy $24.95; quantity pricing available). Of note is the last page featuring two texts for children by Isaac Watts, set to new tunes by Dan Harper.
The Primitive Hymns, Spiritual Songs, and Sacred Poems compiled by Benjamin Lloyd. This important tuneless hymnal (usually called Lloyd's Hymnal) dating from 1841 contains many texts, unattributed here but often by Watts and other English hymnists, which have long been used by hymn composers. This hymnal often contains more verses than one finds in most hymnals with music. It is a valuable source of texts for contemporary composers of shape-note hymns. Hardbound; around 555-570 pages. In 2017 all rights of printing and distributing the hymnal were transferred to The Primitive Hymns, LLC, which is owned and operated by David Lee and Clarke Lee of Hoboken, GA. The extended Lee family has had a long tradition of singing unwritten tunes to the psalms in Lloyd's Hymnal, as well as singing from the Cooper Sacred Harp. They have reprinted Lloyd's Hymnal after correcting errors. Ordering information is found on their online store webpage. The price is $20.00 per book plus shipping and handling. The website also has historical information about the hymnal, Benjamin Lloyd, and a three-page hymnal sampler.
The Primitive Hymns compiled by Benjamin Lloyd is available as a free e-book on Google Books. There one finds a link to On Demand Books, which can print and bind a paperback copy of Lloyd's hymnal in minutes on the Espresso Book Machine available in select bookstores.
High-quality digital scans of an original 1857 copy of The Primitive Hymns are available on the Sounding Spirit Digital Library.
Benjamin Lloyd's Hymn Book: A Primitive Baptist Song Tradition, edited by Joyce Cauthen. A book of essays with a CD recording documenting the history and current use of this historic hymn book. See description in the Lined-Out Hymnody chapter.
Primitive Baptist Hymn Book by D. H. Goble. Originally published in 1887 by D. H. Goble and Elder R. W. Thompson of Greenfield, Indiana, the fourth edition was enlarged from 256 pages (245 hymns) to 320 pages (321 hymns) in 1892. The original 1892 edition has been recently republished by The Primitive Baptist Library. Hard cover binding with gold lettering on the front and spine. The price is $8.00 per book including postage. Quantity orders are less expensive per book; consult the Web page for prices. Send orders to The Primitive Baptist Library, 416 Main Street, Carthage, IL 62321, phone 217-357-3723.
A large print edition for visually impaired readers was published by Jeffrey Weaver and was available as a downloadable PDF. According to the preface, this edition contains some corrections to Goble's original edition, correcting some hymn attributions and restoring some to their original versions. At present, the book is available as a Nook book (eBook) from Barnes and Noble.
Hymns and Spiritual Songs, by Isaac Watts, edited by Selma L. Bishop. This edition contains many of the texts by Watts found in early American hymns and fuging tunes. The hardcover edition is published by Faith Press and is available for $5.00 postpaid from the Director of University Libraries, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, TX 79601.
Cluster of Spiritual Songs by Jesse Mercer. Mercer's Cluster is the source of many early American hymn texts. The last edition (1835) contained 691 hymns and poems. A reprint is now published by Nabu Press and sold on Amazon (ISBN 1172013462)., A 1983 reference work about the Cluster by Ray Brewster entitled The Cluster of Jesse Mercer is available online and includes the full text of almost 300 of those hymns, and a first line index of 708 hymns including 17 that were deleted from the 1810 edition.
A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship, compiled by William Gadsby. The following information was provided by Robert Vaughn and is also on a Wikipedia article: This hymn book by an English Baptist minister was first printed in 1814 and contains 1156 hymns (words only) by authors such as Gadsby, Toplady, Watts, Hart, Cennick, Newton, Berridge, Cowper. The hymnal is currently available in three editions as follows: leather binding and India paper, 895 pp., $23.95; hardback, 895 pp., $14.95; and Kivar edition, 473 pp., $11.45. Inquire about shipping charges, which are additional. Available from Gospel Mission, P.O. Box 318, Choteau, MT 59422, phone 406-466-2311.
The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts. This compilation of 600 pages, published in late 1997, is a facsimile reprint of the following books of Watts: The Psalms of David (consisting of 150 psalms in verse) and Hymns and Spiritual Songs in Three Books (containing a total of 365 hymns). The original indices are reprinted also, and these include useful key-word indices, indices of first lines of the psalms or hymns, and an index of the first line of each verse. Hardbound. ISBN 1573580694. Published by Soli Deo Gloria Publications, it is now out of print. Used copies are available through Amazon.com. (Amazon also sells a version of this book published on demand by Nabu Press (Bibliolabs LLC), but the quality may be suboptimal.)
Note: these texts (without first-line indices) are also available on the Web at two places: 1. The Christian Classics Ethereal Library, and 2. Project Gutenberg, where Watt's Psalms of David, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, and Divine Songs can be downloaded.
A Collection of Hymns, for Use of the People Called Methodists, by Rev. John Wesley, electronic public-domain version by John Harris (Bristol, UK). This is a collection of 1026 hymn texts, listed according to first line without author attribution, that are in the 1876 edition of an important hymnal first published by John Wesley in 1780. The original core of 539 hymns were mainly by Charles and John Wesley, while hymns added later included those by many other authors. The online version is in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
Olney Hymns, by John Newton and William Cowper. The famous hymns written in Olney, England and first published in 1779 have been reprinted in various recent books available through Amazon.com. In addition. Olney Hymns is now available in e-text form at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
Three early English metrical psalters, edited by David Jensen. Mr. Jensen has edited and placed online the following psalters as downloadable PDFs: A New Version of the Psalms of David (1696) by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, The Whole Book of Psalms (1562) by Thomas Sternhold and John Hopkins, and The Whole Psalter (1567) by Matthew Parker. He has written short introductions and historical notes about each. His directory of online PDFs written or edited by him includes other items related to psalmody, liturgy, and chant.
Books of hymns reset by Barry Johnston. The following are available as downloadable PDFs from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL):
Metrical Psalters (and their histories) online at the Music for the Church of God Website. This extensive Web resource has various old psalters in English, including The Old Version, Scottish Psalter, The Bay Psalm Book, The New Version (by Tate and Brady), psalms by Isaac Watts (1719), the Psalter of the United Presbyterian Church, and others. Each psalm is presented in meter with the name of the meter stated. This is a useful resource for composers who are looking for psalm texts of a particular meter to mate with a tune.
The Gospels in Verse by Jabez Van Cleef. The Songs of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are posted on June Melton's Voices Across America Website for free and unrestricted use by shape-note singers. Mr. Van Cleef asks that those using his verses credit him as the source.