The National Music of America - online book

The Sources & Factors Influential In Forming America's Music.

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The National Music of America. 41
referred to the practice of singing through the psalms in regular order, and then going back to the beginning, as was the custom in Plymouth and in some of the other churches of the Bay.
Up to about this time it was the custom of those who used the "Bay Psalm-book" to write the music in against the verses, but, as they were familiar with but few of the mel­odies (Ravenscroft's selections were chiefly used), it often happened that only a half-dozen tunes were thus written. Many congrega­tions had only three or four tunes that they could sing passably well. This great defect was overcome about 1690 by printing the music in the psalm-books. The oldest exist­ing music of American imprint is dated 1698, but there is evidence that there were earlier editions. The printing of the Boston edition of 1698 is very poorly done and contains many errors. The tunes given are " Litch­field," "Canterbury" (or "Low Dutch"),
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