Singing master Durham Hills created The Cashaway Psalmody to give as a wedding present in 1770. A collection of tenor melody parts for 152 tunes and sixty-three texts, the Psalmody is the only surviving tunebook from the colonial-era South and one of the oldest sacred music manuscripts from the Carolinas. It is all the more remarkable for its sophistication: no similar document of the period matches Hills's level of musical expertise, reportorial reach, and calligraphic skill.
Stephen A. Marini, discoverer of The Cashaway Psalmody, offers the fascinating story of the tunebook and its many meanings. From its musical, literary, and religious origins in England, he moves on to the life of Durham Hills; how Carolina communities used the book; and the Psalmody's significance in understanding how ritual song—transmitted via transatlantic music, lyrics, and sacred singing—shaped the era's development. Marini also uses close musical and textual analyses to provide a critical study that offers music historians and musicologists valuable insights on the Pslamody and its period.
Meticulous in presentation and interdisciplinary in scope, The Cashaway Psalmody unlocks an important source for understanding life in the Lower South in the eighteenth century.
First published in 1975 and long out of print, Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills is a major work of folklore poised to reach a new generation of readers. Drawing upon Patrick Ward Gainer’s extensive ethnographic fieldwork around West Virginia, it contains dozens of significant folk songs, including not only the internationally famous “Child Ballads,” but such distinctively West Virginian songs as “The West Virginia Farmer” and “John Hardy,” among others.
Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills stands out as a book with multiple audiences. As a musical text, it offers comparatively easy access to a rich variety of folk songs that could provide a new repertoire for Appalachian singers. As an ethnographic text, it has the potential to reintroduce significant data about the musical lives of many West Virginians into conversations around Appalachian music—discourses that are being radically reshaped by scholars working in folklore, ethnomusicology, and Appalachian studies. As a historical document, it gives readers a glimpse into the research methods commonly practiced by mid-twentieth-century folklorists. And when read in conjunction with John Harrington Cox’s Folk Songs of the South (also available from WVU Press), it sheds important light on the significant role that West Virginia University has played in documenting the state’s vernacular traditions.
Evangelical churches sing hymns written between 1870 and 1920 so often that many children learn them by rote before they are able to read religious texts. A cherished part of communal Christian life and an important and effective way to teach doctrine today, these hymns served an additional social purpose in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: they gave evangelical women a voice in their churches.
When the sacred music business expanded after the Civil War, writing hymn texts gave publishing opportunities to women who were forbidden to preach, teach, or pray aloud in mixed groups. Authorized by oral expression, gospel hymns allowed women to articulate alternative spiritual models within churches that highly valued orality.
These feminized hymns are the focus of "I Sing for I Cannot Be Silent." Drawing upon her own experience as a Baptist, June Hadden Hobbs argues that the evangelical tradition is an oral tradition--it is not anti-intellectual but antiprint. Evangelicals rely on memory and spontaneous oral improvisation; hymns serve to aid memory and permit interaction between oral and written language.
By comparing male and female hymnists' use of rhetorical forms, Hobbs shows how women utilized the only oral communication allowed to them in public worship. Gospel hymns permitted women to use a complex system of images already associated with women and domesticity. This feminized hymnody challenged the androcentric value system of evangelical Christianity by making visible the contrasting masculine and feminine versions of Christianity. When these hymns were sung in church, women's voices and opinions moved out of the private sphere and into public religion. The hymns are so powerful that they are suppressed by some contemporary fundamentalists today.
In "I Sing for I Cannot Be Silent" June Hadden Hobbs employs an interdisciplinary mix of feminist literary analysis, social history, rhetoric and composition theory, hymnology, autobiography, and theology to examine hymns central to worship in most evangelical churches today.
The Makers of the Sacred Harp
David Warren Steel and Richard H. Hulan University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress ML3111.S75 2010 | Dewey Decimal 782.270975
This authoritative reference work investigates the roots of the Sacred Harp, the central collection of the deeply influential and long-lived southern tradition of shape-note singing. Where other studies of the Sacred Harp have focused on the sociology of present-day singers and their activities, David Warren Steel and Richard H. Hulan concentrate on the regional culture that produced the Sacred Harp in the nineteenth century and delve deeply into history of its authors and composers. They trace the sources of every tune and text in the Sacred Harp, from the work of B. F. White, E. J. King, and their west Georgia contemporaries who helped compile the original collection in 1844 to the contributions by various composers to the 1936 to 1991 editions.
The Makers of the Sacred Harp also includes analyses of the textual influences on the music--including metrical psalmody, English evangelical poets, American frontier preachers, camp meeting hymnody, and revival choruses--and essays placing the Sacred Harp as a product of the antebellum period with roots in religious revivalism. Drawing on census reports, local histories, family Bibles and other records, rich oral interviews with descendants, and Sacred Harp Publishing Company records, this volume reveals new details and insights about the history of this enduring American musical tradition.
Music and the Wesleys
Edited by Nicholas Temperley and Stephen Banfield University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress ML410.W51M87 2010 | Dewey Decimal 781.71700922
Providing new insight into the Wesley family, the fundamental importance of music in the development of Methodism, and the history of art music in Britain, Music and the Wesleys examines more than 150 years of a rich music-making tradition in England. John Wesley and his brother Charles, founders of the Methodist movement, considered music to be a vital part of religion, while Charles's sons Charles and Samuel and grandson Samuel Sebastian were among the most important English composers of their time.
This book explores the conflicts faced by the Wesleys but also celebrates their triumphs: John's determination to elevate the singing of his flock; the poetry of Charles's hymns and their musical treatment in both Britain and America; the controversial family concerts by which Charles launched his sons on their careers; the prolific output of Charles the younger; Samuel's range and rugged individuality as a composer; the oracular boldness of Sebastian's religious music and its reception around the English-speaking world. Exploring British concert life, sacred music forms, and hymnology, the contributors analyze the political, cultural, and social history of the Wesleys' enormous influence on English culture and religious practices.
Contributors are Stephen Banfield, Jonathan Barry, Martin V. Clarke, Sally Drage, Peter S. Forsaith, Peter Holman, Peter Horton, Robin A. Leaver, Alyson McLamore, Geoffrey C. Moore, John Nightingale, Philip Olleson, Nicholas Temperley, J. R. Watson, Anne Bagnall Yardley, and Carlton R. Young.
In the small towns and rural areas of early America, church-sponsored “singing schools” proliferated as a way of both improving congregational singing and drawing communities together. Congregants attending these schools were taught a form of musical notation in which the notes were assigned different shapes to indicate variations in pitch—a method that worked well with singers having little understanding of standard musical notation. These schools eventually became major social events that drew hundreds of attendees, and today countless enthusiasts carry on the shape-note tradition.
The New Harp of Columbia, originally published in Knoxville in 1867, was a shape-note tunebook used in East Tennessee singing schools. It was based on an even earlier publication, The Harp of Columbia (1848). In 1978, the University of Tennessee Press published a facsimile edition of The New Harp with an introduction by Dorothy D. Horn, Ron Petersen, and Candra Phillips that detailed the history of shape-note singing as well as the story of the tunebook itself and its original compilers, W. H. Swan and M. L. Swan. That edition went out of print in 1999. Now, for this “restored edition” of the tunebook, the Press has reprinted not only the full text of its 1978 facsimile edition but has included additional tunes that were part of the original 1848 Harp of Columbia. A few verses to some songs favored by contemporary singers have also been added, and a new foreword by Larry Olszewski and Bruce Wheeler brings the story of the tunebook and its users up to date.
Included in the book are old psalm and hymn tunes, anthems, fuguing pieces, and folk hymns—a total of more than two hundred pieces that represent a fascinating slice of Americana. As a reviewer for the Journal of Church Music noted of the 1978 facsimile: “[The book is] a worthwhile addition to any church musician’s library, especially those interested in the development of American sacred music over the past two centuries.” This publication marks a significant new step in preserving an important musical tradition.
Hymns and hymnbooks as American historical and cultural icons.
This work is a study of the importance of Protestant hymns in defining America and American religion. It explores the underappreciated influence of hymns in shaping many spheres of personal and corporate life as well as the value of hymns for studying religious life. Distinguishing features of this volume are studies of the most popular hymns (“Amazing Grace,” “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”), with attention to the ability of such hymns to reveal, as they are altered and adapted, shifts in American popular religion. The book also focuses attention on the role hymns play in changing attitudes about race, class, gender, economic life, politics, and society.