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With a history dating back to 1820, The Missouri Harmony was the most popular of all frontier shape-note tune books. The 185 songs compiled in the collection were favorites used in Protestant churches and singing schools, and many were deeply rooted in American culture by the time of its first publication. The story of the book is the story of a burgeoning nation, with its origins in a St. Louis school (where it was introduced by singing master Allen Carden) and its spread along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. It's said that even Abraham Lincoln and his sweetheart, Ann Rutledge, sang from The Missouri Harmony at her father's tavern in Illinois. Compilations like The Missouri Harmony not only helped teach Americans to read music but also carried on the European heritage of shaped notes, a format used by congregations and choirs around the world. And yet despite its significance, the book was, until now, unavailable to contemporary choral and church music communities. Collected by Wings of Song, an organization of St. Louis shape-note singers, this new version of The Missouri Harmony contains over 350 pages of new and old music and a narrative introduction that includes photographs and illustrations that illuminate the shape-note tradition. With this compilation, published nearly two hundred years after its inception, the heritage of a very different, yet ever influential, America thrives, and its songs, rich with our country's history, live on.
"This book is a remarkable achievement, an amazing resource for all lovers of choral music."
-Dave Kirby on WTBF-AM/FM