Shapenote Music Resources

There have been many hundreds of tunebooks published since William Billings started the ball rolling.  Few remain in print or readily available, however; Warren Steele provides a listing of tunebooks still in print (or only recently out of print).


Some tunebooks are available in image format on the internet.  I have been resetting tunes from Supply Belcher's Harmony of Maine and John Norman's Federal Harmony.  I have recently completed a "pretty good draft" of Ananias Davisson's Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony and would appreciate your comments/corrections.  


I use Lilypond to set these tunes.  Lilypond is free and produces very high quality, consistent results.  Shapenote support was substantially improved with version 2.13.20, so be sure to install that version (or higher).


New Tunes in the shapenote tradition are now being published in a new periodical, The Trumpet, three times a year.

New Tunes

Stanley Smith: New England
Stanley gave a delightful and informative singing school prior to the 39th session of the New England Sacred Harp Convention, held in Newburyport, Massachusetts in October 2014. He was inspired to write this fugue dedicated to the New England singers.
SSmith_New England.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 90.7 KB

Old Shapenote Books

The Southern and Western Pocket Harmonist
"intended as an appendix to the Southern Harmony," by William Walker, 1815 (reprint date: 1860).
SW Pocket Harmonist.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 44.0 MB
The Norristown Musical Teacher
1830. Seven shapes, using a novel shape system intended to help 4-shape singers transition.
Norristown Musical Teacher.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 73.6 MB

In memoriam for George Sielier, I'm posting two tunes written for the New Jersey Convention, which George and Jean helped to found and lead.

Garden State C.M.
Music by P. Dan Brittain. Dan writes: "I taught one of the singing schools at the Garden State in Montclair in those days; George asked me to do a song for them. 'Garden State' based on Watt's paraphrase of Psalm 1 (George's request) was the result."
Garden State B5 6_4.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 44.6 KB
Montclair L.P.M.
Music by Bruce Randall. Bruce composed this tune for the first Garden State Convention, which George and Jean Seiler founded. I have typeset Bruce's round-note original.
Adobe Acrobat Document 195.6 KB

Lilypond Resources

SH Template.txt
Text Document 4.5 KB
Include this file when the repeat is mid-bar.
Text Document 3.1 KB
Include this file when the repeat begins on a bar line.
Text Document 2.7 KB
Better Days.txt
Text Document 3.0 KB
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Creative Commons License
Recordings and scores by Robert Stoddard are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Recordings by others and used with permission may not be distributed without permission from the original copyright holder.