An Ecumenical Harmony

A small collection of Early American hymns, set pieces and anthems suitable
for choir, congregation or both, and appropriate for all the churches. The settings
are presented in standard notation, many with new texts, all carefully selected.
asola shape + note hymns liturgy early american + hymns + anthems + set pieces choir choral + music
version 1.1 available for download          click here          FREE OF CHARGE
fasola shape + note hymns liturgy early american + hymns + anthems + set pieces choir choral + music


two sets of indices arranged for convenient reference,

including mode, range and meter

with explanatory material

both files FREE OF CHARGE


The term “fasola” denotes a genre of hymnody popular in Early America (U.S.), and which survives to the present day. It is distinctively folkish in character, deriving in large part from the oral traditions of the British Isles. Most books use “shape-notes”, a didactic notation devised at the start of the nineteenth century. The word “fasola” itself refers to the older solmization which preceded the familiar “doremi” scale and which survives in some of these books. Many of the early hymns also employ curious “dispersed” (quartal) harmony, and the melodies as a whole retain a remarkably complex and archaic modality.

Building on the premises developed by George Pullen Jackson (1874–1953) and his predecessor Cecil J. Sharp (1859-1924), these studies were undertaken to discover the distribution (occurrence and relative frequency) of the modal data obtained from the foresaid premises. Unconventional (but not obscure) methods were borrowed from linguistics (phonological analysis, Prague School—mid 20th century) to this end. The result is a detailed and comprehensive system of modal classification, derived from statistical summaries and easily verifiable. Although certainly consistent with prior efforts, this system has some distinctive features, obtained directly from the melodies

A Modal Study of

The Sacred Harp (1991 edition)

Denson book

   NEW version 1.2     click here     (pdf, .6 MB)


A Modal Study of
Seven 19th Century Shape-Note Hymnals

single erratum* corrected, and summaries and indices throughout

version 1.2     click here     (pdf, .9 MB)

                                Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second.

                                John Wyeth, ed.
Harrisburg(h), Pennsylvania. 2nd edition 1820; 1st edition 1813.

                                Kentucky Harmony
. Ananias Davisson, ed. Lexington, Kentucky. 1816.

                               The Missouri Harmony
. Allen D. Carden, ed.
                               This edition Cincinnati, Ohio.
1846; original copyright 1835.

                               The Southern Harmony
                               William Walker, ed. This edition New York. 1854; 1st edition 1835.

                               The Sacred Harp
. B. F. White and E. J. King, eds.
                               Philadelphia. 3rd
edition, 1859, 1860 imprint; 1st edition 1844.

                               The Social Harp
.  John G. McCurry, ed. Philadelphia. 1855.

                               The New Harp of Columbia
. M. L. and W. H. Swan, eds.
                               Nashville, Tennessee. This edition 1919; 1st edition 1867.

an original metrical paraphrase of
Psalm 137

v. 1.1     click here

set to an Early American tune, Meditation (analyzed below), with its original setting


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