Item No: frkma22000
Title: Hermonisches Melodeÿen Büchlein über die Bekanteste Lieder im Marburger Gesang=buch Verfertigt vor Henrich Honsperger Singschüler in der Birckenseher Schule: Geschrieben d. 12ten April Im Jahr unsers Herrn A. D. 1780
Fraktur; German script
Laid paper; watercolor; various colored inks; string
[ 6 verso] Wann ein b vor Einer Note stehet, So Bedeutet es einen halben Thon Niederer | wann aber ein # stehet, Bedeutets einen halben Thon Höher.
[7 recto] [Hymn incipits from the Marburg Hymnal]
1 Ach Gott Erhör Mein Seufftz[en] rc.
2 Ach Gott und Herr, wie [groß und schwer] rc
3 Ach was soll ich Sünder m: [achen] rc.
4 Allein Gott in der Höh seÿ . rc.
[ 6 verso] When a flat (b) is placed before a note, it signifies a half-tone lower. However, when you find a sharp (#) before a note, it signifies a half-tone higher.
[7 recto] [Hymn incipits from the Marburg Hymnal]
1. O God hear my sighs etc. [MH CCLVI 256, p 191]
2. O God and Savior, how great and difficult etc. [MH CXX 120, p 77]
3. What should I a sinner do etc. [MH CCLVIII 258, p 193]
4. May God alone be on high etc. [MH CCCXII 312, p 237]
Tune Booklet (Notenbüchlein)
Rare Book Department
Accompanying Materials Laid or Tipped In:
Original sewing threads
Johann Adam Eyer (1755-1837) was active from 1779-1820 as a schoolmaster and Fraktur artist. He was also a musician. 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).
Hermonisches | Melodeÿen Büchlein | über die Bekanteste Lieder im Mar= | burger Gesang=buch | erfertigt vor | Henrich Honsperger | Singschüler in der Birckenseher | Schule= Geschrieben d. 12ten April | Im Jahr unsers Herrn A.D. 1780
Lerne Wie du kanst allein, sin | ger buch und Tempel | seÿn [Directly beneath full title]
Wer Etwas kan den hält man werth, [Along left side of title]
Den Ungeschickten Niemand begehrt. [Along right side of title]
Full Title Translated:
Booklet of Harmonious Tunes from the Best Known Hymns in the Marburg Hymnal. Created for Henrich Honsperger, Singing Scholar at the Perkasie School. Written 12 April in the Year of Our Lord, A.D. 1780
Learn how you yourself can be singer, book and temple. [Directly beneath full title]
He who is skilled is sought after by everyone. [Along left side of title]
He who is unskilled is sought by no one. [Along right side of title]
N.B. The title is hand-drawn; hand-colored; hand-lettered. The text in Fraktur and German script within a circle is in the center of the document, as well as two lines outside and framing the circle, one along the left side and one along the right side. The entire document is framed by a decorative border.
N. B. See also FLP B-13.
1-3  5-25  27-28
Scope and Content:
This particular manuscript appears to be the first tune booklet made by Johann Adam Eyer, for none earlier than April, 1780 is extant. It was made for Henrich Honsperger, who is listed in Eyer’s roll book for 1780. Its title clearly states that it is a “Booklet of Harmonious Tunes from the Best Known Hymns in the Marburg Hymnal...” The first and last pages of the tune booklet were originally used for penmanship practice and recycled for use in this booklet. The Fraktur title page is on page 3, followed by 73 tunes, 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.
Borneman, Henry Stauffer, 1870-1955
Cory M. Amsler, ed. Bucks County Fraktur. Kutztown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1999, 103 (title page), fig. 72.
"Johann Adam Eyer" in Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest’s Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners. East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997), 2nd ed., vol. 1, 258 (title page); 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, 77, 191, 193, 237.
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, 141.
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; 443 (title page), fig. 2.
Creation Place Town/Township:
Creation Place Note:As per title page in Ms., p. 3
City/Town/Township:Perkasie School, Hilltown Township
Image Dimensions Width:
FLP Borneman Ms. 22a
Eyer, Johann Adam, 1755-1837, Attributed to - Decorator
Eyer, Johann Adam, 1755-1837, Attributed to - Scrivener