Dieses Harmonische Melodeyen büchlein Gehöret Elisabeth Oberholtzerin Sing schuler in der Tieffronner Schule geschrieben d 5ten November im Jahr unsers herrn Jesu Christi 1814

Dieses Harmonische Melodeyen büchlein Gehöret Elisabeth Oberholtzerin Sing schuler in der Tieffronner Schule geschrieben d 5ten November im Jahr unsers herrn Jesu Christi 1814

Item Info

Item No: frkm039000
Title: Dieses Harmonische Melodeyen büchlein Gehöret Elisabeth Oberholtzerin Sing schuler in der Tieffronner Schule geschrieben d 5ten November im Jahr unsers herrn Jesu Christi 1814
Creation Date: 11/5/1814
Scripts/Text: Fraktur; German script; Roman script
Language: German; English
Weiser Number: 835
Physical Description: 38 p; 18mo; oblong format
Material: Stiff wrapper; laid paper; ink; watercolor; tempera; graphite; thread
Category: Tune Booklet (Notenbüchlein)
Media Type: Manuscripts
Source: Rare Book Department

Accompanying Materials Laid or Tipped In:

Half sheet of wove paper with following noted in pencil: 33 in a circle with an X through it; 39 in a circle; ELISABETH OBERHOLTZER | SINGING STUDENT IN THE TIEFBRONNER (?) SCHOOL | WRITTEN NOVEMBER 5, 1814 | ON ONE OF THE LAST PAGES | A RECIPE FOR MEAT


Stiff wrapper

Biographical Note:

David Kulp (1777-1834), formerly known as the Bucks County Brown Leaf Artist, studied under Johann Adam Eyer (1755-1855) from 1782-1786, and like him became a school teacher. He taught at the Deep Run and Plumstead schools from 1801 to ca. 1819. Kulp had a copybook that he kept from 1806-1822, and challenged anyone to exceed his writing skills: “David Kulp, his hand and pen, Beet [sic] it if you can.” As a Fraktur artist and penman, he designed and wrote with controlled architectural precision, but never lost the natural artistic flow of the work.

Full Title Translation:

This Harmonious Tune Booklet belongs to Elisabeth Oberholtzerin Singing Scholar in the Deep Run School Written the 5th of November in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ 1814

N. B. See also FLP B-5.

N. B. On page 28 in English in pencil and underlined:  Reciept For Meat [i.e. Recipe for Meat] to 144 one lb of Saltpeter 2 qts of | fine salt 2 lb of brown Sugar made | fine and well mixed rub the hams | well with the mixture on the flesh | side and pack them down in a tight | cask with the flesh Side up let | them lay 14 days then make a strong | pickle with course salt and put | it on after remaining 2 weeks take | them up and smoke them

Physical Description:

[1-2] 3 [4] 5-30 [31-38]


Scope and Content:

This tune booklet was made for Elisabeth Oberholtzer by her teacher David Kulp on November 5, 1814 while she was a student and singing scholar in the Deep Run School, Bedminster Township, Pennsylvania. Her name appears in the upper right corner of the front fly leaf in German script. There is no rudimentary musical instruction included in this booklet.

Numbers to the right of the first three hymns indicate the hymn number in the Mennonite hymnal Die kleine geistliche Harfe der Kinder Zions... Please note that No. 3 to the right of the third hymn Herr Jesu Christ dich zu uns wend... is erroneously indicated in the hymnal as “3.” It actually appears as hymn No. 2 in Die kleine geistliche Harfe... The format up to No. 60 is four hymn titles with music incipits per page with the soprano clef, key, and time signatures indicated. Thereafter up to No. 84 formatting remains the same except for the following: No. 61 Mensch sag an was ist dein leben... is shown in tenor clef. Whereas note values in preceding entries are made in half and whole note values, quarter notes begin to appear in No. 61 Mensch sag an was ist dein leben..., eighth notes in No. 62 Es gieng ein Säeman aus zu säen...and sixteenth notes in No. 71 Die Nacht ist vor der thür... The g-clef is used for No. 85 Mein heÿland ach bewahre.... which is the only hymn tune on page [24]. It is in C-Major and in 2/4 time. Fermati are indicated, along with repeat signs, and triplets appear for both eighth and sixteenth note patterns. Verses 1, 2, and 3 are copied beneath the one line of music. A g-clef is also used for No. 86 Gott lob mein Jesus at gesiegt..., also the only hymn appearing on page [25]. It is in C-Major and in 6/8 time. Again fermati, repeat signs and triplets appear in both eighth and sixteenth note patterns. Verses 1 and 2 of the hymn are copied beneath two lines of music. On page [26] the format reverts back to four hymn tunes with music incipits per page. There are 22 pages of music: 93 hymn titles with music incipits.

Both Borneman Ms. 39 for Elisabeth Oberholtzer and Borneman Ms. 38 for Anna Oberholtzer—made for them by their teacher David Kulp on the same day, i.e. November 5, 1814—share some similarities. Hymn titles and music incipits are the same for both up to No. 60 excepting a switch of the hymn title and incipit for Ach Gott und Herr, wie Groß... This appears as No. 1 in B Ms 39, and as No. 13 in B Ms 38. Also, there is an ornamented flourish that accompanies this hymn title, and that appears above the title in both tune booklets.

Title Description:

Hand-drawn; hand-colored; hand-lettered. The main text in Fraktur and German script is enclosed within an elliptical circle--resembling a Christmas ornament—and is in the center of the document. Wherever there’s no text, one finds calligraphic flourishes, as well as two horizontally-oriented leafy stemmed flowers used as space-fillers. The circle is flanked on each side by a stylized vertical long leafy stem that ends in two flowers. A set of two long leafy-stemmed flowers at the head and tail of the page encircle the elliptical circle and are connected on either side by decorative leaves and berries. A highly decorative border frames the title page.

Tunebooks in General:

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 Johann Adam Eyer’s (1755-1837), David Kulp’s teacher. 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.

Associated Names: Oberholtzer, Elisabeth
Provenance: Borneman, Henry S., 1870-1955
Oberholtzer, Elisabeth


Joel D. Alderfer. “ ‘David Kulp, His Hand and Pen, Beet It if You Can’: The Bucks County Brown Leaf Artist Identified” in Cory M. Amsler, ed., Bucks County Fraktur. Kutztown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1999, 151-165.

Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest. "David Kulp, " in Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners. East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997, 2nd ed., vol. 1, 479-481.

Mary Jane Lederach Hershey. “The Notenbüchlein Tradition in Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Community Schools” in Cory M. Amsler, ed., Bucks County Fraktur. Kutztown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1999, 145.

Die kleine geistliche Harfe der Kinder Zions, oder auserlesene geistreiche Gesänge allen wahren heilsbegierigen Säuglingen der Weisheit, insonderheit aber allen Christlichen Gemeinden des Herrn zum Dienst und Gebrauch mit Fleiss zusammen getragen, und in gegenwärtiger Form und Ordnung gestellt, nebst einm dreyfachen Register. Erste Auflage. Auf Verordnung der Mennonisten Gemeinde. Germantaun: Gedruckt bey Michael Billmeyer, 1803 & 1811.

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.

Creation Place Town/Township: Creation Place Note:As per inscription on title page
City/Town/Township:Deep Run School, Bedminster Township

Image Dimensions Width: 10.3 cm
ShelfMark: FLP Borneman Ms. 39
Creator Name: Kulp, David, 1777-1834, Attributed to - Decorator
Kulp, David, 1777-1834, Attributed to - Scrivener

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