UbuWeb Ethnopoetics : Visuals

From A Collection of Changeable and Extra Songs, 1842. Mary Hazard. New Glucester, Maine.

Shaker songs, showing innovative musical notation. The Shakers also developed a kind of musical "free verse," antedating Whitman’s Leaves of Grass by more than a decade. These poems, "which were set to music from about 1840 on … were like prose poems which conformed, however, to no metrical pattern and could be sung only because Shaker notation allowed constant changes in mode, timing, barring or rhythm; others written into hymnals with no musical accompaniment, were probably chanted or recited if used in meeting at all." (Edward Deming Andrews, The Gift To Be Simple, 1940)

The songs shown here also exhbit a kind of faux-dialect as a reflection of the presumed spirit messengers.

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