Tag Archives: j.s. james

John Leland and the Mammoth Cheese: Original Sacred Harp Historical Notes, Volume 2, Cheese Notes Edition

The design of the Sacred Harp: 1991 Edition was widely hailed as a great improvement over previous editions, yet many singers bemoaned the loss of James’s historical notes. By far the crowd favorite among these notes is James’s comment on John Leland, author of the hymn-text … Continue reading

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Original Sacred Harp Historical Notes, Volume 1

Here’s the first in what I hope will be several installments of gems mined from Joseph Stephen James’s historical notes in Original Sacred Harp (1911). James authored a note for each of the book’s 609 songs. The notes are always interesting, sometimes humorous, … Continue reading

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Seventh Issue of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter

We published the latest issue of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter on Wednesday. I contributed to three pieces in this issue: I coauthored an essay on Elphrey Heritage, a Philadelphia bookkeeper who was the sole northern contributor to nineteenth-century editions of the Sacred Harp tunebook. Christopher Sawula … Continue reading

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Printings of J. S. James’s Original Sacred Harp

There were four early printings of Original Sacred Harp between the book’s initial publication in 1911 and 1929.1 Each features a similar cover. Of the differences among the books’ covers, the most prominent is the color of the ink, paper … Continue reading

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Stitched Together: S. M. Denson’s Alto Part for “The Last Words of Copernicus”

“Perhaps the most instantly recognizable musical feature of” Sarah Lancaster’s song “The Last Words of Copernicus” (p. 112 in The Sacred Harp) “was not in [the composer’s] original three-part setting,” I wrote in the winter 2013–2014 issue of the Country Dance and Song Society News. … Continue reading

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J. S. James, Leading, Composition, and Starting a Singing – Classes at Camp Fasola

I taught several classes this June and July at the two sessions of Camp Fasola, a weeklong summer camp for learning Sacred Harp singing, history, and traditions held in Alabama. With Aldo Ceresa, I co-taught a class on the music … Continue reading

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