Item No: frkm027000
Title: Dieses Sing=Noten=büchlein=gehört=Ludwig Beck. Sing=Schüler in der Ober=Mount=Betheler Schule geschrieben d. 2ten März. 1797.
Fraktur, German script
36 p; 18mo; oblong format
Laid paper; stiff paper wrapper; watercolor; ink; thread
Tune Booklet (Notenbüchlein)
Rare Book Department
Accompanying Materials Laid or Tipped In:
[A note in Roman block print in pencil on a half sheet of wove paper with an observation about the Ms. writing samples on pp. 1, 35; a translation of first two lines of p. 1 (verso), first two lines of p. 35 (verso), and title]
- THE FIRST AND LAST PAGE LOOKS LIKE AN IMPOSITION OF AN STUDENT.
- “PHILIPP BARTHOMOMÄ RECONCILE YOURSELF TO IT, THAT I TAKE THE LAST WRITING DAY STRETCH THE FINGERS AND WRITE BEAUTIFUL. DO NOT CHATTER AND FOLLOW NICE.
- THIS SINGING NOT BOOK BELONGS TO LUDWIG BECK SINGING STUDENT UPPER MOUNT BETHEL SCHOOL WRITTEN MARCH 2, 1797
- [27 in a circle; 25 in a circle; 7; 1797; Bookplates; XX]
Stiff paper wrapper
Johann Adam Eyer (1755-1837) was active from 1779-1820 as a schoolmaster and Fraktur artist. He was also a musician, a wise investor, and excellent administrator. Eyer rewarded his students with beautifully decorated certificates of merit, created writing sample copy books, and introduced what is thought to be the first decorated tune booklets, for use by his students. He taught principally in Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, Northampton, and Monroe Counties (Pennsylvania).
Full Title Translation:
This Tune Booklet for Singing Belongs to Ludwig Beck, Singing Scholar at the Upper Mount Bethel School. Written 2 March 1797.
N. B. See also FLP B-7.
1-2 [3-4] 5  7-26 [27 staff lines only] [28-34] 35-36
Scope and Content:
The tune booklet was made for Henrich Ludwig Beck of the Upper Mount Bethel School on March 2, 1797 by Johann Adam Eyer. The first and last pages of the tune booklet were originally used for penmanship practice and recycled for use in this booklet as end papers. Besides writing phrase samples such as “ Philipp Bartholomä schicke dich...(Philipp Bartholomä make sure you...)” there are other fragmented phrases and letter clusters that hone one’s writing skills. The Fraktur title page is on page five, followed by 78 tunes, which are taken from the Marburg hymnal.
The idea of creating such a booklet to teach children the rudiments of musical notation so that they could learn to sing the melodies used in the hymns at church service seems to have been Eyer’s. The hymnals used by their parents contained no music, but only the hymn verses with the indication “Mel.” and the title of the hymn tune to which the congregation would sing the text. The metrics, and topic of the poetry usually determined which melodies were chosen.
Eyer’s concept was a practical and useful one, and inspired many other teachers to create tune booklets for their students in which only the melody line of frequently used hymn tunes was written out. Each scholar had a booklet, usually 10.2 x 16.5 cm in size. The teacher created a title page describing the purpose of the booklet, and containing the name of the student, the school attended, and the date of the title’s creation. The empty spaces on the title page were filled in with flowers, birds, and other elements common to Pennsylvania German decorated Fraktur. These titles are absolutely beautiful, and probably inspired the singing scholar to greater endeavors as he learned how to read music and sing the tunes that either the instructor or he would copy into the booklet.
The “singing schools” or singing classes flourished in Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery, Chester and Berks Counties, Pennsylvania from about 1787 to 1845. Singing became a part of the school curriculum, and “singing schools” became popular.
The title is hand-drawn; hand-colored; hand-lettered. Written in red and black ink, the text is in Fraktur and German script within a circle in the center of the document. The circle is flanked by a symmetrical floral pattern that includes tulips and heart-shaped leaves. At the bottom of the page, a soprano clef and a 4/4 metrical sign, written in red ink, are indicated to the left of the circle on a black stave. Half notes, also in red ink and identified by name, ascend in half steps beginning with the leading tone b, c, d, e, f, g, a, b, c, d, e, f. On the same black stave, and to the right of the circle, written in red ink a soprano clef, and 4/4/ metrical sign are repeated with half notes showing intervals at the octave, major seventh, minor sixth, perfect fifth, major third, minor third, perfect fourth, major third, minor third, major second, perfect fifth, perfect fourth, major second, major second. A decorative border of multiple decorative elements surrounds the title page.
Eyer, Johann Adam, 1755-1837
Borneman, Henry S. (1870-1955)
Henry S. Borneman. Pennsylvania German Bookplates. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania German Society, 1953, title page published as plate 20.
"Johann Adam Eyer" in Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest, Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners. East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997, 2nd ed., vol. 1, 256-260 (biography).
Marburger Gesang=Buch zur Uebung der Gottseligkeit in 649 Christlichen und Trostreichen Psalmen und Gesängen Hrn. D. Martin Luthers. und anderer Gottseliger Lehrer, Ordentlich in XII. Theile verfasset, Und mit nöthigen Registern auch einer Verzeichniß versehen, unter welche Titul die im Anhang befindlichen Lieder gehörig: Auch zur Beförderung des so Kirchen= als Privat= Gottesdienstes, Mit erbaulichen Morgen= Abend = Buß= Beicht= und Communion=Gebätlein vermehret. Germanton, Gedruckt und zu finden bey Christoph Saur, 1762.
Frederick S. Weiser. “IAE SD, the Story of Johann Adam Eyer (1755-1837)” in Ebbes fer Alle-Ebber, Ebbes fer Dich. Breinigsville, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1980, 437-506.
Creation Place Town/Township:
Creation Place Note:As per inscription on title page
City/Town/Township:Upper Mount Bethel School
Image Dimensions Width:
FLP Borneman Ms. 27
Eyer, Johann Adam, 1755-1837, Attributed to - Decorator
Eyer, Johann Adam, 1755-1837, Attributed to - Scrivener