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The ultimate collection of early American choral music, including folk hymns from the 19th century. A two volume work in a sturdy slipcase, American Harmony includes full musical scores and complete verses for 176 pieces of music, 100 illustrations, over 100 pages of biographical information about composers and musical arrangers, and a CD recording of 35 pieces. The first volume of this set covers New England compositions from 1770 to 1815, the second volume covers a wide range of locations from 1813 to the present. Selections are drawn from well-known sources (such as the shape-note hymnal, The Sacred Harp) as less well known sources, all in their original harmonizations. The author, Nym Cooke, has made the study of shape-note music his life’s work and is among the foremost authorities on the subject. Beginning his research in 1976, he has sung every one of the 5,000 pieces published in American tunebooks through 1810, researched the composers’ biographies, and determined not only how the music should be presented in print, but also how it might best be performed in person. In addition to the music, the author’s historical introduction and detailed critical commentary provide context. As The American Record Guide said, “American Harmony is a thing of beauty… not only to the eye but also the mind and the ear.”
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