Dieses Noten=Büchlein gehöret Jacob Kratz Sing-schuler in Nu britin 1817

Dieses Noten=Büchlein gehöret Jacob Kratz Sing-schuler in Nu britin 1817

Item Info

Item No: frkm043000
Title: Dieses Noten=Büchlein gehöret Jacob Kratz Sing-schuler in Nu britin 1817
Scripts/Text: Fraktur; German script; Roman script
Language: German
Weiser Number: 851
Physical Description: 8 p; 32mo; oblong format
Material: Stiff wrapper; wove paper; watercolor; ink; thread
Category: Tune Booklet (Notenbüchlein)
Media Type: Manuscripts
Source: Rare Book Department


Stiff wrapper

Biographical Note:

The decorator/scrivener of Borneman Ms. 43 remains unknown to us. However, it is worthwhile noting that like Johann Adam Eyer, the writer did include some rudimentary musical instruction in this tune booklet, as well as titles and melodies to hymn tunes taken from both Die kleine geistliche Harfe, the Marburg Hymnal, and Johann Friedrich Eyer’s and Isaac Gerhart’s Choral=Harmonie. Johann Friedrich Eyer is best known for his Fraktur, but was also an organist, and, after he moved to Selinsgrove, in Snyder County, along with the Reformed minister Isaac Gerhart, composed and compiled music for Choral Harmonie, a book intended to provide basic musical instruction, as well as hymns appropriate for all church denominations.

Die kleine geistliche Harfe der Kinder Zions  was the first Mennonite hymnbook produced in America, prepared by a committee of the Franconia Mennonite Conference in Eastern Pennsylvania, and used in that conference district as the official hymnbook for over a century. It was printed at Germantown in 1803 by Michael Billmeyer. The German Lutherans of Pennsylvania imported their first hymnals from Europe. The most common were the Marburg Hymnal of 1711 and the Halle Hymnal of 1703. Christoph Saur printed six American editions of the Marburg Hymnal from 1757 to 1777, which was used by many other Pietistic groups including the Mennonites.

Full Title Translation:

This Tune Booklet Belongs to Jacob Kratz Singing Scholar in New Britain 1817

N. B. See also FLP B-1035.

N. B. This is the smallest tune booklet documented by Mary Jane Hershey’s study of those used by children in Mennonite parochial schools.


Physical Description:


Scope and Content:

The Notenbüchlein was made for Jacob Kratz by his school teacher in 1817 when he was a student and singing scholar in New Britain Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Jacob Kratz [Fraktur script] mein | Jacob Kratz sein namen [German script] is inscribed in black gall ink in the middle of  page [2].  Beneath it, written in pencil and in Roman script,  is mls [?] Jacob Kratz Ja Jacob Kratz .

There are 19 numbered hymns with their music incipits, and one unnumbered. The format is four hymn titles with their incipits to a page, excepting the first page where the first stave is devoted to reviewing the C-major major scale in solfège (Ut re mi fa sol, la si ut re mi fa), as well as intervals at the octave, major 7th, major 6th, perfect 5th, major 3rd, and minor 3rd. Following this bit of rudimentary musical instruction are the first three hymn titles with their music incipits. Thereafter, the four hymns to a page with music incipits format prevails: The first nine hymns are in soprano-clef; 2/4 time signature; various key signatures. Thereafter the g-clef, soprano clef, and alto clef are used with most of the melodies in duple meter, and various key signatures. Although most of the note values are given in half or whole note values, eighth notes appear in No. 12 Mein lieber Gott ich danke Dir...and quarter notes and eighth-note triplets in No. 13 O Du liebster Bräutigam. The last hymn Nun ruhen alle Wälder is unnumbered:   the musical notation is copied from page 39 of Johann Friederich Eyer’s and Isaac Gerhart’s Choral Harmonie...

This tune booklet demonstrates the two worlds in which Pennsylvania German children and their teachers existed, and points towards their assimilation into American culture.  Representative of their Germanic roots, we find on the one hand that the majority of hymn titles are from the Marburg Hymnal and Die kleine geistliche Harfe der Kinder Zions and copied out in Fraktur, and German script, along with the tune incipits in traditional notation. On the other hand, their exposure to the American way of life prompted them to begin to use g-clef, as well as a new form of musical notation, i.e. shape notes, a system introduced in 1801 to facilitate congregation and community singing, and soon to become a popular teaching device in American singing schools.

Title Description:

Hand-drawn; hand-colored; hand-lettered. Five colored decorative circular bands—placed in the center of the page—enclose the text, which is in Fraktur and German script. These, in turn, are framed by a border whose four corners are decorated with red and blue buds surrounded by green leaves. These resemble the tips of spears pointing towards the circle and enclosed text.

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: Kratz, Jacob
Provenance: Brenner, Scott Francis, 1903-1991
Kratz, Jacob


Johann F. Eyer and Isaac Gerhart. Choral Harmonie Enthaltend Kirchen=Melodien, Die bey allen religions-Verfassungen gebräuchlich, auf vier Stimmen gesezt, und mit einigen musikalischen Stücken nebst hinreichenden Unterricht versehen, eingerichtet zur Übung der Jugend und zum Gebruch des öffentlichen Gottesdienstes, welches ohne und mit der Orgel kann gebraucht werden, wann ein Organist die Regeln der Musick beobachtet. Harrisburg: John Wyeth, 1818, 39.

H. Harbaugh, D. D., and D. Y. Heisler, A. M. The Fathers of the German Reformed Church in Europe and America. Lancaster: J. M. Westhaeffer, 1872, vol. 4, 94-106.

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, 143.

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.

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:New Britain Township

Creation Year (Single Year or Range Begin): 1817
Image Dimensions Width: 9.1 cm
ShelfMark: FLP Borneman Ms. 43
Creator Name: Anonymous - Decorator
Anonymous - Scrivener

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