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Lot Number: 113
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1805 “The Christian Harmony or Songster’s Companion” by (Minister) Jeremiah Ingalls, Exeter, New Hampshire, First Edition

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1805-Dated Federal Period, First Edition Rare American Hymnal, “The Christian Harmony or Songster’s Companion,” by (Minister) Jeremiah Ingalls, Exeter, New Hampshire, Fine.

First Edition 1805-Dated (Written in 1804), Bound Volume, incomplete, with its Original Hard-Covers intact, an important Early American Separatist Hymnal, measuring 8.75” x 5.25”, with 194 pages. An as-found, slightly incomplete copy of this very famous Separatist Hymnal, written by Newberry, Vermont Minister Jeremiah Ingalls in 1804. This work is so prominent and famous that it was One of Six early American tune books placed on special display at the Stanford University Music Library as an exhibit in 2012.

Other characteristics of “The Christian Harmony” that appear rarely in northern tune books but commonly in later southern ones are rhythmic and scalar influences from folk and secular music, repeated phrases, three-voice settings, tunes with added choruses, revivalist poetry, the inclusion of complete texts, and tunes named after the texts to which they are set. Ingalls’ book thus occupies a unique position in the tune book literature. Numerous classic tunes from its pages have been reprinted elsewhere. There are a number of references to this Hymnal to be found in a Google search, along with a picture of a digitalized version of the copy owned by the Boston Library, which appears to be in very similar overall condition to this currently offered copy.

In detail, this copy has pages five to eight (the last four pages of the introduction), pages forty-three to forty-six, pages ninety-nine to one hundred and two are lacking. Pages one hundred forty-three to one hundred sixty have been rebound into the back section of this book being out of their original position. The last six pages, one hundred ninety-five to two hundred are also lacking. Overall, very even in tone to the laid period paper, a few pages have some minor marginal chipping on the outer edges from normal wear in use, its original spine remains intact. A rare, important copy lacking in most collections.
When Jeremiah Ingalls adopted this tune into The Christian Harmony, or Songster’s Companion (Exeter, NH: Henry Ranlet, 1805), he used a text beginning, “Let us rise and go to Zion’s hill,” but notice how the second stanza is borrowed from “Fare you well, my friends, I must be gone.”

Ingalls’ source for this text is unclear; it has no apparent precedent in American hymnals. It was repeated in some other early hymnals, including Hymns, Original and Selected, for the Use of Christians, compiled by Elias Smith and Abner Jones.

Ingalls, Jeremiah, (born Andover, MA, 1 March 1764; died Hancock, VT, 6 April 1838).

American tune book compiler, composer, choir leader, singing school master, and bass violin player.

Over half the 137 tunes in his only tune book, “The Christian Harmony, or Songster’s Companion” (Exeter, NH, 1805), were composed in the New England style prevalent in northern tune books before 1820. The remaining settings constitute the first appearance in print of the spiritual folksong - a sacred text set to a formerly secular melody - a genre that appeared frequently in southern tunebooks from the second decade of the 19th century.

Other characteristics of “The Christian Harmony” that appear rarely in northern tune books but commonly in later southern ones are rhythmic and scalar influences from folk and secular music, repeated phrases, three-voice settings, tunes with added choruses, revivalist poetry, the inclusion of complete texts, and tunes named after the texts to which they are set. Ingalls’ book thus occupies a unique position in the tune book literature.
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Lot Number: 113
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Estimate Range: $1,200 - $1,800
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