Presented by: Charles W. Steele, DMA
Location: Hyatt Regency – Hanover F
An important facet of America’s musical heritage has been preserved in the shape-note tunebooks of the nineteenth century. A significant compiler of shape-note collections was William Walker (1809-1875) of Spartanburg, SC. His collection, Southern Harmony, was very popular in its day. Supposedly, over 600,000 copies were sold. Walker’s significant contributions to hymnody include the pairing of the text of Amazing Grace with the tune New Britain, as well as the first known publication of the tune Wondrous Love.
The session will present biographical information about Walker, the significance of his work, and its effect on hymnody today. The use in today’s hymnals of tunes from Walker’s collection will also be examined. The session will conclude with a brief consideration of organ literature based on shape-note tunes found in Southern Harmony. A repertoire list of organ works based on Southern Harmony tunes will be available to participants.