1816.084: Kentucky Harmony.

Published: 1816

Full Title: Kentucky harmony or A choice collection of psalm tunes, hymns, and anthems. In three parts. Taken from the most eminent authors, and well adapted to Christian churches singing schools, or private societies. Selected by A. Davisson.

Author: Davisson, Ananias (1780-1857), comp.

Place Issued: Harrisonburg

Issuing Press: Uncertain

Description: 140 pgs.: 13 cm. x 22 cm. (16mo)


First edition of one of the most popular hymnals in the nineteenth-century South, employing the shape-note form of musical notation. Davisson reported on verso of title page that: "This book will be sold by the different book-sellers, in the several places, viz: Lexington Kentucky, Nashville West Tennessee, Knoxville East Tennessee, Winchester, Woodstock, Staunton, Lexington, and Abington Virginia. Copy right secured." Title issued concurrently with Joseph Funk's Die Allgemein N├╝tzliche Choral-Music [Universally Useful Choral-Music] (1816.082), though Davisson targeted English-speakers rather than German-speakers served by Funk's offering. Both were stylistically challenged the following year by Wheeler Gillet's Virginia Sacred Minstrel (1817.096), which sought to turn church music from the fugue-influenced tunes of Funk's and Davisson's collections to more melodious ones in three=part harmony Part I [1-35] does not carry a subtitle, unlike the others parts: Part II [26-96] "Containing the more lengthy and elegant pieces, commonly used in concert, or singing societies" and Part III [97-138] "Containing several anthems and odes of the first eminence; together with a few pieces never before published," with text concluding with an index of the songs [139-140]. Title lacks imprint; most authorities suggest Davisson as the printer of this item, as he did publish later editions through 1828; however, it is not clear whether Davisson had the tools needed to accomplish such production before 1819, even as he held the copyright to the first (1816) and second (1817) editions; hence it is quite possible that he engaged Wartmann in Harrisonburg to print this initial edition for him, as had Funk, so the indeterminacy here.

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