Boston: Printed typographically by Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews. Sold at their Bookstore, No. 45, Newbury Street, and by the other Booksellers in Boston - by said Thomas in Worcester, and at Oliver Holden's Store in Charlestown, 1795. Oblong quarto (240 x 290 mm). Full mid-tan leather with "The Property of Doctr. Stillmans Singing Society Book No. 16" gilt within decorative rectangular border with floral cornerpieces gilt to upper. 1f. (recto title within decorative border, verso advertisement)), 1f. (recto preface by Hans Gram, Samuel Holyoke, and Oliver Holden dated Charlestown, Massachusetts, February, 1795, verso introduction and table of contents), [v]-xxxvi "Theoretical Observations" and "Theoretico Practical Observations," 71 (typeset music), [i] (index) pp. With small woodcut title vignette, two decorative headpieces, and a fine tailpiece incorporating musical instruments to page xxxvi.
Of Notes, Intervals in General, Consonances and Dissonances; Of the Diatonic Intervals, Of the Chromatic Intervals; Of the Enharmonic Intervals; Of Bass, the Fundamental and Continued Bass; On Chords and Thorough Bass; Of the Undergoverning Chord and of Chords by Supposition; Of Counterpoint; and Of Cadences.
Of Time, Accenting and Syncopation; On Singing; Containing several Progressive Lessons on Singing.
From the library of The Newton Theological Institution, with their bookplate to front pastedown.
Binding considerably worn with some loss; upper detached; library number in white ink to spine; endpapers worn, browned at edges, and slightly creased. Moderately browned, heavier to final leaves; two small tears to blank edges of title with minor paper loss.; library number 44772 to lower blank margin of second leaf of preface. Quite a good copy overall, despite browning.
First Edition of one of the earliest American works printed from movable music type. ASMI 226. RISM G3385.
Printed by the important early American printer Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831).
The theoretical part of this work constitutes one of the earliest and most extensive theoretical treatises on music published in America in the 18th century.
Gram, an organist and composer, received his doctorate from the University of Copenhagen in 1772. He arrived in Boston in the mid-1780s and served as organist of the historic Brattle Street Church. "The Compiler’s detailed theoretical introduction has long been considered a milestone in the European ‘reform’ movement in American music.'" Maribel Meisel in Grove Music Online.
Oliver Holden (1765-1844) was an important American composer and tunebook compiler. "[His]... early musical training consisted of two months’ instruction in a singing school in 1783. He began to teach singing schools of his own in the same year, and his first published tunes appeared in The Federal Harmony (Boston, 1788). From 1792 to 1807 he taught singing schools, composed prolifically (his published compositions consist of at least 245 works, including 12 anthems and eight odes), and compiled more than a dozen anthologies, including the last three editions of The Worcester Collection (Worcester, MA, 1797–1803), which was perhaps the widest-selling American sacred tune book of its day. Holden was called upon several times to furnish music for special occasions: for the memorial service for George Washington on 22 February 1800 he brought out A Dirge, or Sepulchral Service (Boston, 1800). His ‘Coronation’ is the only hymn tune by an 18th-century New Englander still found in most present-day Protestant hymnals." Richard Crawford and Nym Cooke in Grove Music Online.
Samuel Holyoke was, likewise, an important figure in early American music. "He studied at Harvard College (BA, 1789; MA, 1792), during which time he contributed several secular songs to The Massachusetts Magazine, and published his first book of psalmody, Harmonia Americana (Boston, 1791). With Hans Gram and Oliver Holden he brought out The Massachusetts Compiler of Theoretical and Practical Elements of Sacred Vocal Music (Boston, 1795), a collection of mostly European music... Holyoke was one of the most prolific American composers of his generation. He published almost 700 of his own pieces, mainly in his monumental book The Columbian Repository of Sacred Harmony (Exeter, NH, 1803) and in his collection designed for Baptist worshippers, The Christian Harmonist (Salem, MA, 1804); he also left more than 150 compositions in manuscript (in US-NH and Boxford Historic Document Center)." Richard Crawford and Nym Cooke in Grove Music Online.
The Newton Theological Institution was a Baptist theological seminary founded on November 28, 1825 in Newton Centre, Massachusetts; its early students were pioneers of the modern missionary movement. It become the Andover Newton Theological School, affiliated with Harvard, in 1965; it is now affiliated with the Yale Divinity School. Item #31199
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