Chapter 12 The Americanization of Moravian Music: An Examination of the Salem Manuscript Books

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822
David Blum
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The “Golden Age” of Moravian music is generally acknowledged as being 1750-1830. The year 1830 also lines up with some definitions of “the long eighteenth century.” During this time, most Moravian music was comprised of music imported from Europe or composed by German Moravian composers based on European models; but in the early decades of the 19th century, American music was appearing in the manuscript books of students at Moravian educational institutions.

We also see the increasing influence of American music in the published sheet music collections of Salem residents. In fact, the Moravian Music Foundation holds one of about ten known copies of the first edition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The ongoing cataloging of the Salem Manuscript Books Collection may shed some light on who the students were, and when the manuscript books were copied, to show how Moravian educational institutions were opening up to American music.

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