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Shapenote Music


Northern Harmony

Plain Tunes, Hymns and Anthems from the New England Singing School Tradition

1998, Edited by Larry Gordon and Anthony Barrand. Illustrations by Tom Bower.

4th edition. Hardcover, 280 pages.

Northern Harmony has always been a singer's collection. These tunes have been taught to singers of every age, ability, background and musical taste. They work. There is, perhaps, no other easily accessible choral music that is as much fun to sing. The music is stark, rhythmic, frequently modal, and very distinctive, set to the fierce rhymed poetry of Issac Watts and others. We recommend this volume to singers and conductors everywhere, first and foremost because it is a collection of powerful and exciting music.

In the last two decades, there has been a tremendous resurgence of shape-note singing all over the country. This shape-note revival has inspired an outpouring of splendid new songs by young singer/composers. Over a third of this edition is accounted for by contemporary compositions.The largest part of this volume presents a selection of plain tunes, fuging tunes, and anthems written by American composers during the years 1770-1810, most of them hitherto unavailable in modern editions.

If you would like to peruse an online index for the book (where you can look up songs by title, first line, etc), please visit Robert Stoddard's site.

Table of Contents for Northern Harmony
(red titles, as well as those with sample mp3 links, are on the Songs from Northern Harmony CD, sold separately)

Introduction: the music, fuging tunes, singing schools & masters, the southern tradition, contemporary compositions, issac watts and religious poetry, suggested approach, shape notation, editing comments, singing style.

The tunes:

Acadia
Advent
Aeolian Harp
All is Well
Amanda
Amazing Grace
Amelia
The Appletree
As Pants the Hart
Auburn
Austria
Balloon/Bondage
Barnet
Big Sky
Birmingham
Bridgewater
Bristol
Burlington
Carol
Chamberlain Hill
Chelsea
Chocksett
Closing Year

Craftsbury
Daniels
Desert Sorrow
Despair
Devotion
Do Not Go Gentle

East Alstead
Edom
Edson
Election Hymn
Emerald Stream
Empyrean
Evening Hymn

Farewell Hymn
Farquahar’s Retreat

Fisher
Free Grace

Garden
The Garden Hymn
Gibraltar
Gordon
Grafton
Gratitude
Greenfield
Gregory
Hallowell
Hampton
Harmony
Harvest Hymn
Honor to the Hills
Immensity
Interrogation
Interstate
Jerusalem Anthem
John Colby’s Hymn
Johnson Road
Jubilant
Judgement
Lake Forest
Lancaster
Lawrence
Leghorn
Lexington
Life’s Purpose
The Lily
Majesty
Marlborough
Meditation
Millbrook
Montague
Montgomery
Moreen
Mortality
My Life’s a Shade
Mystic
New Jerusalem
Newbury
Norumbega
Ocean
Orono
Owlpen
Pacific
Pardoning Grace
Parting
Pennsylvania
Pleasant Valley
Poland
Poole
Rainbow
Reflection
Resolution
Retribution
Roslin Castle
Smear
Song of Praise
The Song of the Angels at the Nativity
Spring
St. Gaudens
Sweet Brother Weed
Sweet Was The Time
Taunton
Ten Thousand Charms
Thirty-Fourth Psalm
Thunderbird
To The Angels
Topsfield
Tribunal
Utopia
Vermont
Vermont Summer
Virginia
Wales
Walkley
Walpole
Warren
Wedding Hymn
Wells
When Shall We All Meet Again
Windsor
Winter

Biographies and Notes
Selected Bibliography
Extra Texts for Hymns and Psalms
Index

This book is essentially subsidized by Northern Harmony so that it gets into people's hands. Even so, discounts are available for bulk purchases.