American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860
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Music Copyrighted in Federal District Courts, ca. 1820-1860:
Composers in Europe
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SACRED MUSIC

image: caption following
Idol mio = Most beloved, aria
by Vincenzo Bellini.

Important developments in American sacred music occurred during this period. Sacred works, which range from William Walker's Southern Harmony and the early editions of the Sacred Harp to Lowell Mason's reforms of New England psalmody and his early Sunday School collections (particularly The Juvenile Psalmist of 1829 and The Juvenile Lyre of 1830-31), were published as collections in small or oblong format. The formats prevented this music from being included with the other material in this collection, which consists of large-format pieces small enough in bulk to be bound in volumes.

Most sacred music in the collection is written for religious services. There is one book of shape-note instruction and a few pieces specifically for Sunday school. Along with a number of pieces of service music and a slightly smaller number of anthems, there are several settings of the ordinary of the Latin Mass. Sacred pieces especially for Easter or Christmas, are outnumbered by secular Christmas pieces. The latter pieces include "Jingle Bells," which was originally a sleighing song. The collection's one Jewish piece is not a sacred work; it relates to a Hebrew literary society.


American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860