The Sacred Harp (Various)

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Collaborative Work
This work was co-authored by Benjamin Franklin White and Elisha J. King

Sheet Music


1860 Edition

 Complete Book
#104884 - 19.65MB, 431 pp. -  5.3/10 2 4 6 8 10 (3- V/V/V - 2775x

PDF scanned by MSU Libraries
Fynnjamin (2011/6/9)

PMLP214197-Sacred Harp 1860.pdf

Improved and Enlarged edition
Benjamin Franklin White, and others.

Publisher Info.:

Philadelphia: S. C. Collins, 1860.


Public Domain [tag/del]

Misc. Notes:

Low-quality colour scan. Some pages are in the wrong order - this seems to have occurred in creating the PDF.


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1911 James Edition "Original Sacred Harp"

 Complete Book
#282717 - 17.26MB, 567 pp. -  8.5/10 2 4 6 8 10 (4- V/V/V - 1126x

PDF scanned by Internet Archive
Fynnjamin (2013/5/29)

 Complete Book
#167291 - 25.55MB, 567 pp. -  8.0/10 2 4 6 8 10 (2- V/V/V - 1643x

PDF scanned by Emory University
Fynnjamin (2011/12/29)

PMLP214197-sacred harp 1911 james

Joseph Stephen James (1849-1931) (and others in the editing committee)

Publisher Info.:

Atlanta: J.S. James, 1911, 1921 reprint.


Public Domain [tag/del]

Misc. Notes:

This edition of the Sacred Harp was the fore-runner of the 1936 Denson edition (the direct ancestor of the current 1991 edition). It is famous for its "cheese notes" (see notes to song No.82, top, for explanation), some of which contain errors (for example attributions to Chopin rather than Chapin, and Sir John Stevenson rather than Joseph Stephenson of Poole)


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General Information

Work Title The Sacred Harp
Alternative Title The Sacred Harp; A Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, Ode and Anthems

Misc. Comments

Publication History

The Sacred Harp has a complicated history, meaning that there are now 3 books in use that are descended from the original 1844 publication (the White book being the least used today). These 3 books share a great deal of the same material, but differ in their added alto parts, texts set, new songs that have been added and others that have been removed.
A few other books of the period shared the same title.

1844 - The Sacred Harp, edited by Benjamin Franklin White and Elisha J. King.
1850 - Revision, adding an Appendix of new songs
1859/60 - Revision, adding to the Appendix
1869 - Revision, adding new music and removing the least-used songs
1897 - reprinted by James Landrum White and Charles P. Byrd
1884 - The New Sacred Harp - edited by James Landrum White and Benjamin Franklin White, Jr. - A 7-shape tunebook, sharing only 20% of its music with the older editions. Unsuccessful.
1902 - The Sacred Harp - Cooper Revision, edited by Wilson M. Cooper. Contained 493 songs. Alto parts added to all songs. "Cooper Book" or "Blue Book" after the later color of the cover.
1907 - revised
1909 - revised
1927 - revised
1949/50 - The B.F. White Sacred Harp, revised
1960 - revised
1988 - reprinted
1992 - revised, some new typesetting
2000 - revised, some new typesetting
2006 - revised, some new typesetting
2012 - The Sacred Harp - Revised Cooper edition, entirely re-typeset, heavily revised (many parts re-written and songs transposed). Contains 613 songs. The Sacred Harp Book Company
1909 - The Sacred Harp - Fifth edition, edited by James Landrum White. An unsuccessful publication, not used today. White attempted to modernise and correct the harmonies.
1911 - The Sacred Harp - Fourth Edition with Supplement, edited by James Landrum White. Contains 603 songs. Very few new alto parts. "White Book". In limited use today.
1946 - reprinted
2007 - entirely re-typeset and revised (all alto parts put into treble clef at the sung octave), no songs added or removed.
1911 - Original Sacred Harp, edited by Joseph (Joe) Stephen James. Rudiments re-written, many alto parts added. Contains 580 songs.
1921 - revised, corrected and enlarged
1936 - Original Sacred Harp - Denson Revision, edited by Seaborn McDaniel Denson and Thomas Denson. "Denson Book" or "Red Book" after the colour of the 1991 cover (actually burgundy).
1960 - revised
1967 - revised
1971 - revised
1991 - The Sacred Harp - 1991 edition, entirely re-typeset and revised (J.S. James' historical comments on tunes removed). The Sacred Harp Publishing Company

Companion Book

1934 - The Colored Sacred Harp, compiled by Judge Jackson. Contains 77 songs by composers from the African-American Sacred Harp singing community. Usually used in addition to the Cooper book or other books at singings.
1973 - reprinted
1982 - revised
1992 - revised

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