Suffering Savior (p. 344t)

Posted by on Nov 30, 2013 in All Categories, Songs | Comments Off on Suffering Savior (p. 344t)

This was my response to a post by Matt Bell on the fasola-discussions list, but it deserves its own place here…


SUFFERING SAVIOR, Shenandoah Harmony, p. 344t

The arrangement of SUFFERING SAVIOR that’s in William Hauser’s Hesperian Harp is one of my favorite songs.  It’s in the Shenandoah Harmony on p. 344t and here’s a rough recording of it:

ShH 344t Suffering Savior

I just love the two treble 4-sols in the middle of the piece that tie the phrases together.

It’s difficult to know how to cite this tune. We referenced William Hauser’s Hesperian Harp (1848), p. 54, as the direct source, but gave Christian Lyre (1831) credit for the basic form of the tune—in this case, just the title and the Hesperian tenor is similar to the Christian Lyre.  Nikos Pappas pointed out to me that the song is related, though not as similar, to CALVARY (with the same text and chorus) in Shaw & Spilman’s Columbian Harmony (1829), so the melody can’t solely be credited to Christian Lyre either.  CHRISTIAN INQUIRY on p. 24 in Patterson’s Church Music (1813) is also related – and also ends the first phrase on that delicious 1-4 dyad.  Oddly enough, I found the tune in an 1834 fraktur tunebook with a German text.  So SUFFERING SAVIOR seems to be a genuine folk hymn that travelled from place to place through the oral tradition.

Did Hauser arrange the tune for Hesperian Harp?  I’m reluctant to credit it to him, as he wasn’t shy about taking credit for other arrangements.  After all, there are a bunch of uncredited arrangements in that book that we now know come from Songs of Zion.  On the other hand, it seems likely that he did rearrange it for his Olive Leaf, and yet takes no credit for it….  Perhaps just citing “Arr. in Hesperian Harp, 1848.” would make the most sense.

Matt raised the question of whether the song would have been sung with the sixth degree of the scale raised, as is done in the living tradition of Southern shape-note music.  We’ve been purposely vague in the Shenandoah about the raised sixth and other unwritten alterations, such as chromatic alteration (singing up or down a semitone from the written pitch), microtuning (singing pitches that aren’t in an equal-tempered scale), microtiming (altering the rhythm by anticipating or delaying certain notes) and ornamentation (adding grace notes, slides, etc.):

When singing a minor tune, many singers will raise the sixth scale degree half a step, as has been done traditionally, even when a sharp is not written. This practice varies by region, singer, and specific musical instance. …

Shape-note singing is a living tradition; the best way to learn is to sing with different groups of people.  In particular, singing from The Sacred Harp has formed our concept and love of this music.  We recommend listening to a variety of recordings, especially from the South,   where the music has been sung continuously for almost two hundred years.  (The Shenandoah Harmony, p. vii-viii)

Would SUFFERING SAVIOR have been sung with the raised sixth?  Should it be sung that way today? I’m in favor of singing it that way because that’s what I like, and I do think that Hauser, who was interested in presenting melodies from the oral tradition, wrote in the sharps in the Olive Leaf  because that’s how it was sung (he didn’t make this sort of “correction” in Hesperian Harp, but times had changed, or he had changed, or something).  It’s interesting that a sharp is used as a sort of melodic leading tone elsewhere in the piece, even though it “spoils” the conventional V7/i cadence at the end. This may be, again, how it was sung – you can hear that sort of thing in Appalachian ballad singing, for example.


SUFFERING JESUS, Olive Leaf, p. 83

In the Olive Leaf, Hauser also puts raised sixths in KEDRON (SH 48b), Monday’s WASHINGTON (CB 147, ShH 234), Lowry’s MECKLENBURG (ShH 259), O SAVE (SH 70b), RED HILL (version of BETHEL, SH 27), MESSIAH (SH 131t), NEW BRISTOL (version of CHILD OF GRACE, SH 77t), TIME FLIES, MOURNER’S PRAYER (version of Christian Harmony 144 WALK WITH GOD, ShH 3t), FAIRFIELD (SH 29t), SWEET PROSPECT (SH 65), DETROIT (SH 39t), EMORY (version of CROSS OF CHRIST, SH 123b), WEEPING SAVIOR (SH 33t), Billings’ NEWINGHAM, Wetmore’s AMERICA (SH 36t), Smith’s PSALM 119 (ShH 428), WONDROUS LOVE (SH 159), and HEDDING (version of HEAVENLY SPARK, ShH 83t).  And he goes full Dorian in HAPPY SOULS (MIDI), the only shape-note song I’ve encountered in the “key of re.”  He does NOT write the raised sixth in BEGONE UNBELIEF (THO’ DARK BE MY WAY, ShH 305) or BABYLON IS FALLEN (SH 117), though he does alter other notes in BABYLON.

To sum up, Hauser puts raised sixths in pretty much every minor song that has sixths in it.  BEGONE UNBELIEF is an exception because it modulates from major to minor like the version of CONFLICT I discussed in an earlier post.  I don’t know why he didn’t do it in BABYLON—perhaps because he knew that its author, the scholar William E. Chute, who helped him with the Olive Leaf, didn’t want them?  It’s really interesting that he writes raised sixths into New England songs as well.

Here’s what I imagine SUFFERING SAVIOR would look like with “Olive-Leaf-style” accidentals.  Only now the arrangement has problems with some weird conflicts between the alto and tenor–perhaps one reason Hauser ended up altering all the parts.


Although Hauser’s notation of the raised sixths corresponds to how we are taught in the Sacred Harp rudiments (both of them), be aware that he alters a lot of other pitches, too—sevenths, and then there’s this “leading tone” phenomenon.  He also alters notes in major songs.  I’ll see if I can write down the rules he uses, because there seem to be some, and my hunch is that they’re melodically rather than harmonically driven.

Hauser writes in the Musical Million that other singers said that it was impossible to sing minor music with instruments, but he disagreed—he said that the instruments ought to conform to what the singers did, and I assume the altered notes in the Olive Leaf are done for this purpose.  Instrumentalists played the song as written and singers altered pitches by tradition, so they couldn’t sing with instruments.  Hauser played several instruments and would have been sensitive to this problem.

I’m planning on making another post about raised sixths, raised sevenths, and other chromatic and microtonal alterations, so I’ll leave this topic for a more thorough discussion later.

Matt raised another question—the written-in attributions in William E. Chute’s copy of The Olive Leaf of SUFFERING JESUS and HEDDING to the New England composer Daniel Read.  This seems to be Chute’s mistake, and it was propagated in other books, like Durand & Lester’s Primitive Baptist Hymn and Tune Book.  Both SUFFERING SAVIOR (CALVARY) and HEAVENLY SPARK (like HEDDING) are in Shaw & Spilman’s Columbian Harmonist.  Read also published a Columbian Harmonist.  Presumably Chute had some sort of indexing system and it failed him in this case.

200 Years of Bourbon

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in All Categories, Songs | 3 comments

One of the joys—and sometimes frustrations—of choosing songs for The Shenandoah Harmony   was the often overwhelming number of different shape-note arrangements available for the same song.  BOURBON (13t), which has been in print since 1814, is a classic example.  We  chose two different settings of the melody (13t BOURBON and 260t CONFLICT) plus two closely related melodies (7t SUPPLICATION and 305 THO’ DARK BE MY WAY).

I’ve been fascinated by the difference in harmony between BOURBON and CONFLICT for a long time.  The song goes under several other titles, including MEDITATION, DISMISSION, and BRETHREN, PRAY. I started collecting different versions.  With the help of Nikos Pappas, I have found twelve harmonizations from the years 1814-1911 that are substantially different from each other, plus a handful that differ from these in a minor way.

This post is a sketch for a much longer academic article I’m writing about the BOURBON tune family.  The story is a fascinating one, covering not only the history of this particular tune, but also the process of tunebook compilation and editing, the shift away from “ancient-style” harmony and towards “scientific” functional harmony that occurred over the course of the nineteenth century, the change in attitudes towards the minor mode and modal music in general, and the transformation of the physical form and function of American hymn and tune books in this period.

Although there are more arrangements than these, I’ll look at a few of the most interesting and influential prototypes:

  • BOURBON, The Beauties of Harmony, 1814.
  • DISMISSION, The Missouri Harmony, 1820.
  • MEDITATION, The Southern Harmony, 1835.
  • BRETHREN, PRAY, The American Vocalist, 1848.
  • CONFLICT, Hymn and Tune Book, for use in Old School or Primitive Baptist Churches, 1886.

Please note that you can click on any score to see a larger version.  Also there are MIDI files available for all the music on this page—just look for the link that says MIDI and click on it.


Below is the first published version of the song, from Freeman Lewis’ Beauties of Harmony   (1814).  Notice the alto clef and the archaic time signature (the backwards “C” meant 4/4 measure at a moderate tempo, led in two beats per measure).  I wonder how the clash between the sharp 7 (sol) in the tenor and the natural 7 in the other parts was supposed to resolve.  Modern Sacred Harp singers would probably ignore the sharp, but we don’t know what Lewis expected from his students.

MIDI – Lewis’ Bourbon


Tunebook compilers often changed or “corrected” songs they selected from other books.  In the first edition of A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony (1820), Ananias Davisson prints the Beauties of Harmony arrangement, with the accidentals omitted (Davisson didn’t believe in accidentals) and with the alto in the treble clef.

Here’s what appears in the second edition (c.1822):


Oops! Davisson meant to vary the rhythm of the song, halving the long held notes after phrases one and three and adding more time in the middle.  However, he forgot to change the treble and alto.  He corrects his mistake in the third edition (1826):

MIDI – Davisson’s Bourbon


This type of change to rhythms or individual notes was quite common.  Lewis’ (or Davisson’s) arrangement appears in several subsequent books; sometimes the alto is omitted.


Both this song, DISMISSION, and Davisson’s version of BOURBON appear in the first edition of The Missouri Harmony (1820).  Identical or similar versions of DISMISSION are in several other books.  William Caldwell added an alto in his Union Harmony (1837).

MIDI – Dismission



The arrangement of MEDITATION that Walker selects for The Southern Harmony   seems loosely based on DISMISSION—look at the treble in particular.  If we define dissonances to be seconds, in any octave (so that sevenths and ninths also count as dissonances), this one definitely wins the award for the most of them.  I’ve highlighted all the dissonances in red.

MIDI – Meditation, Southern Harmony


In 1866, Walker added an alto, revised the treble and bass, and adopted the more modern seven-shape notation.  As Karen Willard pointed out, in a thought-provoking thread on fasola-discussions that she titled “evolution in harmonic tastes,” William Walker commented, “The harmony of this tune has been corrected and improved expressly for this work.”  You can see that there are now only three dissonances, despite the added fourth part.  The phrase bars indicate the end of each line of poetry.

MIDI – Meditation, Christian Harmony


The Deason-Parris revision of The Christian Harmony   (1958) has still more changes.  The number of dissonances is the same, but they appear in different places.  In addition, the alto moves up to “si” right before the repeat sign, completing a minor triad rather than doubling the treble and leaving an ambiguous dyad.  This version is also in The Christian Harmony, 2010.

MIDI – Meditation, Christian Harmony 1958



While ancient-style part writing places the melody in the tenor and gives each voice part a melodic line to sing, scientific or reformed harmony often locates the melody in the soprano and employs chord progressions, rather than individual melodic motion in the supporting voices, to give the piece forward momentum.  Although Mansfield’s round-note American Vocalist   was published before The Christian Harmony, it contained a mix of ancient and reformed styles.  The melody is still in the tenor, but in other ways this setting is much more “scientific” than any we have seen yet, using standard chord progressions like iv-V-i.  Mansfield also “corrects” the rhythm by setting the song in 3/4.

MIDI – Brethren, Pray, American Vocalist, 1848



Quite possibly the strangest old arrangement of any shape-note song appears in the Primitive Baptist Hymn and Tune Book   by Durand & Lester, 1886.  By the 1880s, minor songs were completely out of fashion, partly due to the notion that they couldn’t be harmonized “scientifically.”  So…  The song is recast in a major key, with the melody ending on the sixth degree of the scale.  Wow.

Note the upright format of the pages—oblong books were expensive to produce, and these condensed scores, with the melody on top, were easier to read on the piano or organ.

MIDI – Conflict, Durand & Lester, 1886


Daily’s Primitive Baptist Hymn and Tune Book preserves some of the strengths of the Durand & Lester setting without the awkward ending.  After firmly establishing the major key (Bb) by the end of the first line, it modulates to G minor in the last few bars.  There’s even a German sixth chord in the last complete measure!

MIDI – Conflict, Daily, 1911PBH206_Conflict_orig

Very similar settings appear in the Old School Hymnal and The Shenandoah Harmony. Daily wasn’t the first shape-note arranger to make this sort of modulation—check out Hauser’s BEGONE UNBELIEF (MIDI), which is the basis for my arrangement of THO DARK BE MY WAY.  It’s amazing that Hauser, in 1848, anticipated this early 20th century setting.

There are several new arrangements of the BOURBON tune family in modern hymnals.  I particularly like Louise McAllister’s 1958 setting in The Worshiping Church (1990), which retains the modal character of the original. Here’s a MIDI.


Some readers were so fascinated by Durand & Lester’s setting that I posted a bunch of scans here: Selections_from_Durand_and_Lester.  I also transcribed O LAND OF REST (PDF) and you can hear the MIDI, too!  This one, I want to sing. It’s attributed to Caldwell, but that’s just the melody – his setting, called New-Market, was harmonized in the minor mode, with the ending note as the tonic (E minor).


Friendship (to every willing mind)

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in All Categories, Songs | Comments Off on Friendship (to every willing mind)

221b FRIENDSHIP is one of the few folk melodies in A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony that has a well known, secular source—it was written by George Frederick Handel for his 1736 opera Atalanta.  Sometime in the sixty years after its first performance, the melody acquired English words that are attributed to a “Mr. Bidwell, of Connecticut” in the American Musical Miscellany (1789).  As far as I know, the tune was first published with this text under the title THE BRITISH MUSE in a two-part arrangement in the Select Songster (1786).  Here are a few different versions I’ve collected:


click to enlarge

Chorus “Viva la face, viva l’amor!” from Atalanta, 1736.  This is probably the most interesting arrangement to sing because it’s so different from the style of the subsequent “folk” versions. I’ve transposed it down from the original key of D major and set it in shape notes, but kept the melody in the top part—a true soprano.


PDF (4 shapes)

PDF (7 shapes)





click to enlarge

click to enlarge

American Musical Miscellany, 1789.  The version of FRIENDSHIP in this small book of mostly secular songs and melodies inspired the arrangement on 221b of the Shenandoah.  I changed the bass slightly and wrote an alto and treble part.






click to enlarge

A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony, 1820.  This four-part arrangement is attributed to Cook.  Yes, the alto ends the song on the sixth degree (la) of the scale!  I’m guessing this was a printer’s mistake, especially since the corresponding phrase ends with the fifth degree (sol) earlier in the song.







The Southern and Western Pocket Harmonist, 1846 (based on the arrangement in Wyeth’s Repository, Part II, 1813).  The bass in this setting is almost identical to Wyeth’s; the treble is a simplification of the Wyeth’s treble, which had some difficult leaps. This arrangement is also in the Christian Harmony, with an added alto.

Link to facsimile:

Four “Irish” Tenors

Posted by on Nov 16, 2013 in All Categories, Songs | 2 comments

Here are four favorite melodies I find myself coming back to time and again…  All four were published by Ananias Davisson in the Shenandoah Valley.  They’re all minor and seem, at least to me, similar to a lot of Irish tunes I heard growing up.  They’re also some of the more difficult songs in the book.  Dan and I made some rough recordings of just the tenors so you can hear them without the other parts.  We’ve chosen to sharp the sixth degree of the scale in all of these.


Mecklinburg is probably named for Mecklenburg County, Virginia, which is in the far south of the state.  Sarah Anderson Jones (1753-1794), the mystic Methodist poet who wrote the lyrics, lived all her life in the county and that may explain the title of the tune.  She was quite a character–I recommend reading Hartweg’s article All in Raptures HERE to find out more about her.  The tune is somewhat related to the Irish comic song “St. Patrick was a gentleman.”  It was first published by Davisson in A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony (1820).

PLAY Mecklinburg tenor

PLAY Mecklinburg all four parts


William Hauser, in page 296 of his seven-shape Olive Leaf (1878) writes in the raised sixth:




Our favorite version of Carmel comes from the seven-shape Sacred Melodeon; there’s more about the text at  The melody was first published by Davisson in A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony, ed.3 (1826) under the title Elysian Plain.

PLAY Carmel tenor

PLAY Carmel all four parts




THE iconic Davisson song.  It was first published in Davisson’s Kentucky Harmony, ed.2 (1817) and was popular in many later shapenote books, including The Southern Harmony and The Sacred Harp.

PLAY Solitude in the Grove tenor

PLAY Solitude in the Grove all four parts




Nobody seems to know much about this song, but I think it’s one of the most beautiful in the book…  The melody was first published by Davisson in A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony, ed.3 (1826).

PLAY Edenton



Shenandoah sampler discs

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in Downloads, News, Recordings | Comments Off on Shenandoah sampler discs

diy CD

DIY ShH Disc

We’ve had numerous requests to make some sampler CDs for folks who want to get started with the book.  All these tracks are also available for free download on our web site.  They’re rough “field recordings” of various singings and only intended for teaching purposes.  Here’s how it works:

  • Where possible, we’ll try to have some CDs available at singings. Donations to cover our costs are appreciated.
  • If you’d like to make your own, you can download the whole disc as one zip file, import the songs into a program such as iTunes or Windows Media Player, order the tracks by track number, and burn an audio disc.  There are printable track lists to go with the discs.
  • If you’d like to make CDs for other singers too, you are welcome to do so, and you may take donations to cover your costs.
  • If you prefer to play the tracks streaming online, they are available at the bottom of this page.  Don’t forget that many of our recordings are also on our YouTube channel.


This discs represents some favorite songs from the first six months of singing (see our Minutes).  If you go to a Shenandoah all-day singing, you can expect many, if not most, of these songs to be called.  There are two long fugues here (Sinai and Pennsylvania). These are ones that we’ve been singing for more than a year from the sampler packet.  This disc also contains a good number of slow songs.

Print track list:  Playlist (PDF)

[wpdm_package id=2211]


We’ve added the best of our recordings that are not included in Disc 1.  Quite a few of these came from our book launch in Cork, Ireland, where we had an especially fine class.  All of our 30 most popular songs–and most of our top 50 songs–are represented in Discs 1 and 2.  There are four Christmas songs here, if you’re looking…

Print track list: Playlist (PDF)

[wpdm_package id=2212]

DISC 3: IN BETHLEHEM CITY: Christmas Songs from The Shenandoah Harmony

You can download and listen to this CD here.

Streaming playlists


The code before each track name (like “ShH 157”) gives the page number in the book. To download a song, start it playing and right-click on “DOWNLOAD MP3.”

[mp3-jplayer tracks=”FEED:/mp3/ShH_sampler_1″ captions=”Disc 1: Getting Started” width=”60″ dload=”y”]


[mp3-jplayer tracks=”FEED:/mp3/ShH_sampler_2″ captions=”Disc 2: More Favorites” width=”60″ dload=”y”]


[mp3-jplayer tracks=”FEED:/mp3/InBethlehemCity” captions=”Disc 3: In Bethlehem City” width=”60″ dload=”y”]

Long-lost Shenandoah tunebook found

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in All Categories, Composers, News, Songs, Sources | 2 comments

It’s rare to discover lost shape-note songs, let alone entire books, so I was completely floored to find that a copy of the long-lost James P. Carrell’s Songs of Zion (1821) was recently cataloged by the University of Virginia. 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.  As I understand it, the last known copy of Songs of Zion belonged to W. E. Chute, who died in 1900, so many of these songs have gone unsung for more than a century.  See UPDATE below.

Thanks to some legwork by our friend John Alexander, we’ve now been able to view the entire book (except for the final two pages, which are missing) and several of us on the music committee have sung through a good portion of the songs–enough to appreciate that there are some appealing and unusual pieces.  The book is now freely available online HERE through UVA’s web site.  We also are planning to publish a small critical edition of Songs of Zion, together with essays about Carrell’s musical style, intended both for singers and scholars.

Here are a few highlights.  I’m assuming in this writeup that all of the songs in the book except the one he attributes to someone else are composed or arranged by Carrell.  Unless we can find them in prior manuscripts it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to establish authorship definitively, however.

Here’s a transcription of the title page:









Is any merry? let him sing Psalms– James V, XIII.


Printed by A. Davisson Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia.  Where on Application Music Printing

of every Description will be executed with neatness and despatch.


William Hauser, the compiler of the Hesperian Harp (1848), had access to Songs of Zion, or perhaps W. E. Chute sent him songs from the book (the two corresponded).  The following arrangements in the Hesperian Harp are taken almost note-for-note from Songs of Zion.  Click on the song title to see the page in the Hesperian Harp, courtesy of Berkley Moore’s site.  Thanks also to Nikos Pappas, who found a few I had overlooked.

  • Angels Songs – arrangement of a Scottish melody called “The Lea Rig.”
  • Attention (called Lovest Thou Me by Hauser)
  • Broomsgrove (called Jesus Crucified by Hauser; the original text is “Lamb of God for sinners slain.”)
  • Calvary New
  • Elevation
  • Elysian (and page 2) This is basically the arrangement in The Sacred Harp, but with the original alto.  The melody is a traditional Irish one associated with Moore’s poem “The Minstrel Boy.”
  • Geneva
  • Melody – though the alto is not original to Carrell
  • Messiah – as in The Sacred Harp
  • Missionary – Hauser’s Eden has the same treble and tenor, but the bass is different and the alto is added.  In addition, Carrell’s text is “How firm a foundation.”
  • Mourner
  • Passover
  • Patmos (called Isle of Patmos by Hauser)
  • Pilgrim (called Anticipation by Hauser; a relative of Child of Grace)
  • Portsmouth
  • Solemn Thought – the match here is not exact – Hauser edited the bass part somewhat to avoid the lowest notes.  Carrell’s bass part is most like the Southern Harmony version. Davisson rewrote Carrell’s bass part in A Supplement, 2nd ed., and changed the treble slightly. The arrangement in The Shenandoah Harmony, page 34, is Davisson’s.

Someone associated with William Walker, probably F. Price, may have had a copy of Songs of Zion.  Here are arrangements published by Walker that are close matches to Carrell’s book:

  • Shepherd in the Southern and Western Pocket Harmonist
  • Elevation, ditto (Carrell’s alto is missing and the song is in 6/4 rather than 6/8)
  • Christian Soldier in Southern Harmony, though attributed to F. Price by Walker.  There are a couple of bass note differences but otherwise it’s the same arrangement.  This song is also in three parts in Songs of Zion.  The alto in The Christian Harmony and The Sacred Harp was added by Walker in 1866.
  • Delight in Southern Harmony is Carrell’s Broomsgrove without the alto and with the text “Vain, delusive world adieu.”
  • Solemn Thought in Southern Harmony, also attributed to Price.  See the note above.

W. E. Chute, the most thorough nineteenth-century scholar of this music, traces the first printing of several folk hymns to Songs of Zion in his handwritten comments on several books.  The songs that Chute attributes to “Carrell, 1821” in his marginal comments on the Knoxville Harmony and the Olive Leaf are

Knoxville Harmony

  • CHILD OF GRACE / PILGRIM  – though he also ascribes this to “Robertson, 1813” – he must be referring to FIDUCIA with the Robertson reference.  See my comments on PILGRIM above.
  • MESSIAH – clearly
  • SOLEMN THOUGHT – he writes “Carrell & Davisson, from Ingalls.”  The Ingalls version is called HONOR TO THE HILLS.
  • MELODY – this is the one in the Hesperian Harp that I referenced
  • COLUMBIA – I would give the earliest printing of this minor Blackbird variant to Alexander Johnson, 1818, but perhaps Chute didn’t have the Tennessee Harmony.  But there is a similar melody in Songs of Zion so this attribution makes sense

Olive Leaf

  • NEW BRISTOL – this is the same melody as CHILD OF GRACE / PILGRIM
  • ALDRED – this is ELEVATION in Songs of Zion
  • CUMBERLAND – this is BELLEVUE or HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION.  The closest melody in Songs of Zion is called NEW MARKET, to the text “My God, I am thine, what a comfort divine.” However, the match is not particularly close – really a stretch, in fact.
  • RESTORATION – also somewhat of a stretch.  There’s a melody called JEWIN STREET in SZ that is related.  It’s almost identical to the melody of BROWNSVILLE in Hesperian Harp  Carrell uses the “come thou fount” text.

As we get more chances to sing from Songs of Zion we’ll have a better sense of Carrell as a composer.  Like James C. Lowry, who was also an associate of Davisson, he experimented with arrangements of folk tunes and longer class songs, including a Christmas Anthem.

UPDATES from fasola-discussions

Richard Hulan pointed me to Irving Lowens’ intro to the 1976 reprint of Kentucky Harmony by Da Capo Press (p. 10), in which he says “Although James P. Carrell’s Songs of Zion was printed by Davisson in Harrisonburg in 1821 and, as would be reasonable to expect, was strongly influenced by the Kentucky Harmony, it is, in fact surprisingly individualistic.”  So Lowens must have seen a copy, perhaps the one at UVA now, since Lowens lived in Virginia.

Berkley Moore brought up the fact that Harmony Grove (also called New Britain, the melody now associated with Amazing Grace) in Clayton & Carrell’s Virginia Harmony.  It’s not in Songs of Zion.  The earliest printing of this melody known is in Shaw and Spilman’s Columbian Harmony, 1829.

Dick also mentioned that other tunebooks cite Carrell as a source for a few other melodies.

In addition to MILBURN PORT, an English tune (HTI #5314b) attributed to “Mr. Dyer’s Collection,” there is one unattributed song that is clearly an arrangement of a song that Carrell did not write: TRIUMPH is PEBMARSH (HTI #13068) by Burkill and also published by Dyer. The bass is the same, but the treble and alto are completely different; the fuge is removed in favor of an antiphonal section.

Morgan’s Judgment Anthem, newly typeset

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 in All Categories, Composers, Downloads, News, Songs | Comments Off on Morgan’s Judgment Anthem, newly typeset

judgment_picUPDATE: Our friends Becky, Leland, Cheri, and Ivy in Northampton recorded JUDGMENT ANTHEM! You can hear and download it from Soundcloud.

I just completed a new shape-note edition of Justin Morgan’s JUDGMENT ANTHEM, available for download here. It’s a real choral showpiece, with multiple key changes and solo sections.  Asahel Benham first published JUDGMENT ANTHEM in his Federal Harmony in 1790.  It was the first anthem ever published in shapes, appearing in the first shape-note book, Little and Smith’s Easy Instructor (1801), and continued to be popular among early shape-note publishers, including Davisson and his contemporaries.  It appeared in Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second (1813), Davisson’s Kentucky Harmony (1816), Carden’s Missouri Harmony (1820), Moore’s Columbian Harmony (1825), and several other books.

Whether by accident or design, Little and Smith changed the anthem in several significant ways, and these changes were copied in all the subsequent shape-note printings that I’ve seen.  In addition to my goal of producing a modern typeset version on a minimal number of pages (10), I also aimed to restore the original 1790 version of the piece as best as possible, with the addition of shaped notes.  I’ve listed my editorial changes on the last page.

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To get a sense of the JUDGMENT ANTHEM in popular culture, read this selection from Gerald Stanley Lee’s Mount Tom: An All Outdoors Magazine, 1906.  (This whole essay is a satirical account of the “wars” over church music at the time–definitely worth a read!)


NSV All-Day Singing 2013: Recordings and Photos

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in All Categories, Downloads, News, Recordings | Comments Off on NSV All-Day Singing 2013: Recordings and Photos

Thank you so much to everyone who made our first all-day singing a huge success!

You might enjoy this flickr album from our friend Jessica Keyes (@prairieskygal).  Minutes of the singing are HERE ( and HERE, starting on row 949.


Here are a few highlights, starting with Dan leading 314b Transport:

Videos (see below for audio recordings)

First morning session

YouTube playlist (40 min)

Second morning session

YouTube playlist (41 min)

Third morning session

YouTube playlist (42 min)

First afternoon session

YouTube playlist (50 min)

Second afternoon session

YouTube playlist (52 min)

Audio Recordings



Recordings from Hadley, Ma. singing

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Downloads, Recordings, Songs | Comments Off on Recordings from Hadley, Ma. singing

We had a wonderful time singing in Massachusetts on Sunday, April 14th.  Thanks to everyone involved!  There was a great variety of songs called.  Though some of these recordings are rough, they’re useful as an aid to learning the songs, so we’ll just post them all….  There are some real gems, too – check out the closer.

The code before each track name (like “ShH 157”) gives the page number in the book. To download a song, start it playing and right-click on “DOWNLOAD MP3.”

First session

[mp3-jplayer tracks=”FEED:/mp3/WMSHC_singing_2013″ captions=”WMSHC 2013 (1)” width=”60″ dload=”y”]

Second session

[mp3-jplayer tracks=”FEED:/mp3/WMSHC_singing_2_2013″ captions=”WMSHC 2013 (2)” width=”60″ dload=”y”]

The Electronic Edition

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in All Categories, eBook, News | 3 comments

page size on an iPad and the print book

page size on an iPad and the print book

The entire Shenandoah Harmony is available as a hyperlinked PDF for $12 or the equivalent in your currency. The eBook has a fuller bibliography and 35 additional pages of indices:

  • Index of Composers and Arrangers (with songs titles)
  • Source Index (with bibliographic information, song titles, and page numbers in the source)
  • Chronological Index of Songs
  • Index of Texts, by Author
  • Metrical Index
  • Index of Fugue Entrances
  • Index of Choruses
  • Two- and Three-Part Songs

You may install your eBook on any device belonging to you and store it “in the cloud” in your private accounts.  If you are not sure whether the eBook will work on your device, please download the free demo edition and try it out HERE.  Directions are HERE.

To purchase an eBook, please fill out THIS FORM and then pay for your book either via PayPal or by sending a check for $12 made out to the Shenandoah Harmony Publishing Company, 2336 Salem Church Road Boyce, Virginia 23223.

Shenandoah Harmony electronic edition  

EBooks are individually customized.  Please allow three days for us to process your order after we have received your payment. We will deliver via Google drive file sharing unless you prefer another method.


Please note: All proceeds from the sales of The Shenandoah Harmony are being used to subsidize travel to workshops and singings, to compensate contributors for their time and expenses, and to fund future publications. Illegal sharing of the electronic book will limit the ability of the publishing company to continue these projects.


  • We recommend using Adobe Reader or any PDF Reader that allows you to type in a page number and follow hyperlinks.
  • All blue text is hyperlinked.  On a touch screen, you may have to magnify the page to get the hyperlinks to work. On most pages, clicking on the page number takes you to the Table of Contents.
  • The eBook has been arranged with the songs first so you can easily go to a song by typing in its page number. To get started, follow the link on the first page to the Table of Contents.  Please read the Terms of Use.  You can also follow links from the Table of Contents to the title page and all the indices.
  • You can navigate to a song either by entering its page number directly (if your viewer permits) or through the indices, by following the hyperlinks to the song’s page. Depending on the size of your device’s screen, you may have to magnify the page or use a stylus to make the links work, as they are small.
  • Most PDF readers have a feature that shows bookmarks for the file and these also take you to the various indices.
  • You may also add your own comments and bookmarks to the eBook – for example, bookmarking titles of songs you like – if you have a PDF reader that allows this.
  • Shape-note music has some features that may be unfamiliar if you have not attended a shape-note singing. In particular, the melody is in the tenor line, not the top line of the staff. You can read more in the section “How to Sing from This Book.”