Item No: frkm050000
Title: Dieses Harmonische Melodeyen Büchhlein Gehöret mir Johannes Brackter Sing Schuler in der Hilltaun schule Geschrieben den 13ten Januar 1830
Fraktur; German script
106 p; 18mo; oblong format
Leather, wove paper; watercolor; ink
Tune Booklet (Notenbüchlein)
Rare Book Department
Accompanying Materials Laid or Tipped In:
• Paper fragment (5.3 x 10.9 cm) of wove paper with following noted in pencil: 50 in a circle; 50 in a square; 1830; JOHANNES BRACKTER (?) | JANUARY 13, 1830 | HILLTOWN SCHOOL.
• Paper fragment (13.6 x 2.8 cm) of orange wove paper with following noted in pencil: ; 1830
Quarter leather [missing paper wrapper cover]
The decorator/scrivener of Borneman Ms. 50 remains unknown to us. However, he is included by many Fraktur scholars in the Swirl Artist School of Bucks County, a name that was introduced by Mary Jane Lederach Hershey in her essay on Notenbüchlein in Cory Amsler’s Bucks County Fraktur. Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest, on the other hand, have attributed Borneman Ms. 50 to the Hilltown Artist. Most of the documented examples by these artists are principally for hymnals and manuscript Notenbüchlein. N. B. The title page and handwriting on page 310, fig. 286 in Cory Amsler’s “Bucks County Fraktur: A Catalogue and Guide to the Artists,” Bucks County Fraktur is almost identical to the title page of the Brackter Tune Booklet.
It is worthwhile noting that unlike Johann Adam Eyer, the scrivener did not include any rudimentary musical instruction in this tune booklet., Hymn titles and music incipits are taken from Die kleine geistliche Harfe, the Marburg Hymnal, Ein Unpartheyisches Gesang=Buch... Brüderschaft der Menonisten...1804, 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 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 Harmonious Tune Booklet Belongs to Me Johannes Brackter Singing Scholar in the Hilltown School Written the 13th of January 1830.
N. B. See also FLP B-50.
N. B. Borneman Ms. 51 (FLP B-9), the tune booklet made for Johannes Shittinger on 12 January 1830 was made one day before Borneman Ms. 50, and one finds many similarities between them.
1  3  5  7  9  11 [ 12] 13  15  17  19  21  23  25  27  29  31  33  35  37  39  41  43  45  47  49  51  53  55  57  59-69 [70-106]
Scope and Content:
The Notenbüchlein was very likely made for Johannes Brackter by his school teacher in 1830 when he was a student and singing scholar in the Hilltown School, Hilltown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The first 28 numbered hymns with their music incipits are notated in shape notes, many entries of which match those found in Johann Friedrich Eyer’s and Isaac Gerhart’s Choral Harmonie. Numbers 29-161 hymn titles with music incipits are notated in the traditional style of Johann Adam Eyer (1755-1837), and his student David Kulp (1777-1834), i.e. 4 hymn titles with music incipits to a page, use of soprano clef, key and time signatures, and note values given in half and whole notes. Unlike other hymns where only the melody title was listed, psalm tunes were generally printed with the given psalm. This is evident in Psalm 141 where the music incipit replicates the melody line given in hymn books such as the Die kleine geistliche Harfe der Kinder Zions...; and Ein Unpartheyisches Gesang=Buch...Brüderschaft der Menonisten Gemeinen...1804. N. B. There is a wrong numbering of hymn titles and their music incipits between Nrs. 149 and 150 [i.e. 149, 145, 150] giving a total of 161 rather than 160 numbered hymns.
Pages 70-106 are blank.
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, Die kleine geistliche Harfe der Kinder Zions, and Ein Unpartheyisches Gesang=Buch...Brüderschaft der Menonisten Gemeinen...1804, and copied out in German script, along with the tune incipits in traditional notation. On the other hand, their exposure to the American way of life, and new ways of presenting music for young people, prompted them to use 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.
Hand-drawn; hand-colored; hand-lettered. The title page consists of three panels: The middle one contains the text in Fraktur and German script. The two outer panels are decorated in matching undulating leafy stems containing a bloom at the head, and three blossoms along the sides. Colorful borders of yellow with red dots frame all panels.
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). 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.
Yoder, Levi [?]
Cory M. Amsler, “Bucks County Fraktur: A Catalogue and Guide to the Artists,” in Cory M. Amsler ed. Bucks County Fraktur. Kutztown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1999. 310, Fig. 286.
“Hiltown Artist” 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, 394.
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.
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 Easter Pennsylvania Mennonite Communitz Schools,” in Cory M. Amsler, ed. Bucks County Fraktur. Kutztown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1999. 138.
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.
Ein Unpartheyisches Gesang=Buch enthaltend Geistreiche Lieder und Psalmen, zum Allegemeinen Grebrauch des Wahren Gottesdienstes. Auf Begehren der Brüderschaft der Menonisten Gemeinen aus vielen Liederbüchern gesammelt. Mit einem dreyfachen Register. zum Erstenmal ans Licht gestellt. Lancaster: Gedruckt bez Johann Albrecht, 1804.
Creation Place Town/Township:
Creation Place Note:As per title page inscription
City/Town/Township:Hilltown School, Hilltown Township
Image Dimensions Width:
FLP Borneman Ms. 50
Swirl School Artist, active c. 1829-1871, Attributed to - Decorator
Swirl School Artist, active c. 1829-1871, Attributed to - Scrivener