Splitting hairs — is it a manuscript copybook or a manuscript tunebook? Or, both?

I’ve been “rearranging” the small collections in the Bethlehem part of our holdings, trying to create collections that make sense of items that do not fit into the the major settlement congregations (Bethlehem Congregation, Nazareth Congregation, Lititz Congregation, Dover Congregation, Lancanster Congregation).  Over the years we have received donations from various congregations in the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in America and from individuals.

With effort to have things make sense fifty years down the road, I’ve been working under the principal of putting “like” things together, such as printed music, manuscript music, tunebooks, bound volumes of printed music, and bound manuscript copybooks. I have encountered some bound manuscript copybooks which have atrributes of Moravian tunebooks.

The model for Moravian tunebooks is Christian Gregor’s Choral-Buch (1784), which used conventional organization of tunes according to metre.  Tunes were labeled by an alpha-numeric order (22H, affectionaly known as Art numbers), had descriptive title identifiers (Wareham) and had a known text incipit associated with the hymn or chorale (Nun danket alle Gott). These conventional were common in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I believe the Moravians, because of their intimate use of hymns and chorales, created personal tunebooks by copying identified tunes for their own use. These personal manuscript copybooks are for individual instruments or for piano.  Some include at least one verse of text, while other include multiple verses or only a textual incipit.  In some copybooks other songs with piano accompaniment are included with the chorales.

Why does this diffientiation matter?  In sorting materials in the Bethlehem collections, putting “like” things together is one of my goals.  So, manuscript copybooks that include only hymn tunes/chorales with Art numbers or tune names,  but which lack underlaid text or have only textual incipits will be gathered with tunebooks.  On the other hand, manuscript copybooks which may include some hymns/chorales identified in this way but also include other music, such as songs with piano and choruses, will be gathered with manuscript copybooks.

Here are two examples

The first is in tunebook style — close score, textual incipit, tune name, and indication of metre (L.M.). Four tunes are given in this example.

The second is in copybook style, which includes not only chorales with text, but this arrangement of “The heavens are telling” from Haydn’s Creation.

Wolf not extinct

At the 2013 Moravian Music Festival the first modern performance of Ernst Wilhelm Wolf’s Easter Cantata (Ostercantate) took place. Each of the choruses is published as a separate anthem in the Moravian Star Anthem Series, and the complete scholarly edition was published by Steglein Publishing in their “Musical Treasures from Moravian Archives”  series. It has also been recorded by the Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus with members of the Rollins College Singers under the direction of Dr. John V. Sinclair. Moramus Chorale will be performing the Easter Cantata in May, 2019.

As we progress through our cataloging project, we continually make discoveries and have little “AHA” moments. One of those moments occurred as I went through a manuscript book of A. C. Brown in the Salem Manuscript Books Collection. I was unfortunately not able to figure out who A. C. Brown was or her/his dates. There is also no date given in the manuscript book. My guess, based on the paper, the handwriting, and the other musical entries in the book, is that the manuscript book was probably compiled in the first third of the nineteenth century.

The 20th piece in the book had no title except “Quartetto” and was attributed to E. W. Wolf. Since editing the Easter Cantata, every time I encounter a musical work attributed to Wolf, I approach it as something from a friend long ago. However, as I looked at the music, it was very familiar, but the text was English:

Hark! a thousand harps and voices, sound the song of praise above; Jesus reigns and heav’n rejoices, Jesus reigns the God of love.

Come ye saints unite your praises with the angels round his throne; Soon we hope the Lord will raise us to the place where he is gone. Songs of glory to our King is what we should sing.

King of glory, reign forever, thine an everlasting crown; Nothing from thy love shall sever, those whom thou hast made thine own. Happy objects of thy grace, destin’d to behold thy face.

The text is based on a hymn of Thomas Kelly (1769-1854 or 1855), a man from Dublin, Ireland who’d planned to follow his father in the legal profession, “…but having undergone a very marked spiritual change he took Holy Orders in 1792.” (John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology)

The music is a keyboard reduction of the quartet movement of Wolf’s Easter Cantata with minor changes to accommodate the English text.

This movement presents us with a mystery. The quartet movement was not included in the 1792 Breitkopf score which Wolf had printed; however, Herbst included this movement in his copy of the Easter Cantata. Among the many copies of the Wolf Easter Cantata found in Moravian collections around the world, some include the quartet but others do not. I have also found a setting of this attributed to Johann Gottlieb Naumann (1741-1801) in the Danish National Library under the heading Das Daseyn Gottes in der Natur (The Presence of God in Nature). See my introduction in the Steglein edition for a full description.

The presence of this work in a manuscript book adds to the evidence that Moravians LOVED Wolf’s music, and made use (and re-use) of it again and again.

Wolf 4tet in SMB 29_20

Moravian Archives Portal

A new link appears under “Links to Related Sites” — Moravian Archives Portal.

Tom McCullough, Bethlehem Archives says: With archival facilities around the world, our employees collect and preserve the records of the Moravian Church and make them available to the public. This site serves as a central hub to guide patrons in locating, contacting, and visiting the facilities that hold records pertinent to their research.other page.

“Singstücke beym Clavier zu Singen” leads to Newberry Library

Dave Blum: I’m currently working through the Lititz Manuscript Book Collection. Presently I am working through a set of 48 tunes many of which were copied by J.F. Peter in a manuscript book owned by Christian  Schropp (1756-1826).

The first entries are patriotic songs, but the collection soon turns to sacred songs in the same vein as Herbst’s songs to be sung at the pianoforte. In fact the title of the collection is “Singstücke beym Clavier zu Singen,” and there have already been a few tunes in common with the Herbst German collection. Several of these texts have been verses of hymns I’ve been able to identify in the Gregor Gesangbuch. When the composer is not known I’ve been searching RISM to see if I can find a match.

This morning I searched for information for the text “Ich find’ in meines Heilands Leiden,” but could not find the text either in the Gesangbuch or in HYMNARY.ORG. I then searched RISM to see if I could find the tune. I found a single match which shared the title in this collection:

Title on source: [cover title:] Charlotte L. | Schropp’s | Music Book. | 7.th March. 1800.
Material: • score: 16f.
Manuscript: 1800 (1800); 17,5 x 24 cm
This collection is at the Newberry Library in Chicago!

The aforementioned music collection at the Newberry Library names Charlotte L. Schropp. I don’t know if this is the same person. Could the L stand for Loskiel, her adoptive parents?

I found the following in: Schultze, Augustus. “The Old Moravian Cemetery of Bethlehem, Pa., 1742-1897.”  Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, v. 5 (1899), 1899.

“Charlotte Sabina Schropp, 1787-1833, born at Nazareth, a daughter of John Schropp. She taught in the boarding school. After her father’s death she was adopted by Bishop Loskiel and wife, and showed them the loving attention of a daughter.”

Now, there was a bumper crop of Schropps. The name appears in the graveyard listings of Nazareth and Lititz, but this was the only Charlotte I could find. This may not be the right person, but it cannot be mere coincidence that the only other occurrence of this text and tune has someone with the same last name.

Finding an aria within an oratorio and other such dilemmas

Moravian music collections are a mixed bag of printed editions, manuscript copies of printed editions, manuscripts of original music, manuscripts of excerpts and contrafactum.  By contrafactum I mean the substitution of one text for another without substantial change to the music. So these collections require access to all music down to the lowest movement level. This is essential for vocal music and slightly less essential for instrumental music.

For example, it is not uncommon to identify a favorite chorus from a Johann Heinrich Rolle oratorio, which has been copied as an anthem, perhaps the text has changed and maybe even the choral voicings (such as, SATB to SSTB). Some of these excerpts or contrafactum were copied and appear in multiple collections among the settlement congregations, including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Lititz and Lancaster in Pennsylvania, Dover in Ohio and Salem in North Carolina. The anthems were used during worship services, Singstunden or Love Feasts.

The question for catalogers is how to provide access to all the music, including sub-units such as movements of a larger work.  The answer leads to a complicated, multi-pronged solution.  First, all movements music be cataloged to gain access to the smaller sub-units; secondly, all movements must include musical incipits.  Matching musical incipits is the best way to identify musical works — independent from the texts. Musical  incipits are printed in standard music notation. They typically feature the first few bars of a piece, often with the most prominent musical material written on a single staff.  Here is an example from RISM.  In another post we will dive into musical incipits.

So, if the catalogers are providing complete access to all the music, what cataloging guidelines have been used?

  • Since we wanted to convert all information on the paper cards to online records, we chose OCLC and RISM as the two bibliographic utilities which are the best sources for discovery (bibliographic and musical).
  • Instrumental works are cataloged on one bibliographic record, with the movements noted in the table of content field (field 505) and the musical incipits encoded for each movement in separate fields (field 031).
  • Vocal works are cataloged on multiple bibliographic records, with one “parent” record for the entire work and separate “child” bibliographic records for each movement.  We include all movement titles in the “parent” table of contents (field 505), while the musical incipits are included in the “child” bibliographic record for each movement. The child record also includes additional subject access depending on the item. For example, subject headings, such as “sacred songs” or “choruses, sacred” or “canons, fugues, etc. (chorus), are added to child records.
  • The parent and child records need to be linked together, showing the relationship and providing access to each.
  • Sometimes, the manuscripts include hand-written notes with an alternate text, which is noted on the bibliographic records.  Sometimes, only the alternate text is given on the manuscript; in this case the musical incipit is the way to identify and bring together like works.
  • Use the parent/child bibliographic records model for collections of unrelated works too.

In our online catalog, GemeinKat/WorldCat Discovery, the feature of linking the parent and child records for display is still under construction.  In the RISM catalog the linking of parent and child records is an important feature (and is very cool).

An example of parent/child bibliographic records for a collection is illustrated well with the collection Zum großen Sabbath, 1768.  Johannes Herbst (a collection of 9 sacred songs). At the bottom of the page there is a list of the 9 sacred songs, each linked to an individual record for each song. Each individual song is, in turn, linked to the parent record.


Moving data from paper records to online records

There are many decision that need to be made when transferring information from paper records to online records.  In this case, we are moving the information to MARC records that are readable in library catalogs.

  1. What does the paper record respresent? Moravian music cataloged during the NEH cataloging project in the 1970s have compact descriptions.  That is, all the manifestations of an entity are represented in one descriptive record.

For example, Christian Ignatius Latrobe’s cantata The Dawn of Glory has three manifestations: one printed organ-vocal score, one manuscript organ-vocal score and 16 manuscript parts.  See the description here: Dawn of Glory.

A conceptual decision was made for these instances that the printed music have spearate records from the manuscript music.  In this case, there was a record for Latrobe’s printed vocal score, plus a record for the manuscript vocal score with manuscript parts.

2. How does the catalog handle multi-part works (like a cantata), so that a single movement can be discovered? The catalogers made separate records for each movement of a work and included a musical incipit, so that the specific passage can be identified. These records were linked together by call number.  In the online catalog records are linked together with linking fields.

In the case of the Latrobe cantatas, using the manuscript vocal score and parts as an example, there is a parent record for the whole cantata plus 16 records for individual movements. I call them the children records.  So there is a parent record, plus 16 child records for the vocal score and parts.

Moravian Music Collections

The collections of the Moravian Music Foundation include over 20,000 manuscripts and early imprints of vocal and instrumental music, sacred and secular music, from the sixteenth through twenty first centuries. Not all music was written by Moravian composers, but it is all music which the Moravians used and enjoyed. These collections represent congregational collections, collegium musicum collections, and personal collections from Moravian settlements and individuals in America.

The collections have been “hidden” to most of the world for about 275 years. With the exception of the Johannes Herbst Collection, scholars and church musicians had to visit the Archives in Bethlehem and Winston-Salem to discover the collections. The story of the collections can be divided into six phases: Sources (1735 to 1850s), Storage (1850s to 1950s), Discovery (1930s to 1970s), Cataloging (1970s), Preservation (1990s) and Online (2004-). It is a story with a host of players – church musicians, composers, copyists, church elders, librarians, archivists, musicologists, and hymnologists.