Shaker music history
Recommended books
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Shaker Music Books and Articles





Note to musicians and researchers:

It has been common among some researchers to only consult two books on Shaker music -- by Edward Deming Andrews and Daniel W. Patterson. Both these books (listed below) are useful but much more research has been done since they were published.

A list of recommended books and music collections are listed below which are worth considering and adding to your personal collection or your college or university library.

From PineTree Productions and PineTree Press

These books and music collections are available on multi-media computer discs
(CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs) and include bonus pictures, music examples and some with video files.
The following eight titles were compiled and written by Shaker music scholar, Roger Lee Hall:t



"The Best Choice":
A Sampling of American Communal Hymns

New reprinted edition on computer disc with additional audio and video files




"Blended Together" - Discoveries Along The Shaker Music Trail
Illustrated booklet available on CD-ROM with music album

New edition now available!

"Come Life, Shaker Life" - The Life and Music of Elder Issachar Bates
Illustrated book on CD-ROM with sheet music and music examples




"Give Good Gifts" -Shaker Music in the 20th Century
Book, sheet music, music albums, video clips
PTM 1019

"The Humble Heart" - A Forty year Survey of Shaker Music
Book, sheet music collection, music examples, video clips
PTM 1058



"Invitation to Zion" - A Shaker Music Guide
Reference guide including picture gallery with sheet music and Shaker singers,
music examples and video files, plus supplement
about the life and music of the first prominent Shaker composer, Issachar Bates


"May We Ever Be United" - Music of the North Union, Ohio Shakers
Book, sheet music, music examples
PTM 1046



"Simple Gifts"- Great American Folk Song
Book with audio and video features
PTM 1035


d out a

A Shaker Music Miscellany
The largest collection of recorded Shaker music
PTM 1030

4ABook, audio ands

For sheet music click this link: Shaker music arrangements


From Other Publishers

The Gift to be Simple: Songs, Dances and Rituals of the American Shakers. 
by Edward Deming Andrews (hardcover, 1940/ Dover paperback, 1962/1967)

Issachar Bates: A Shaker's Journey
by Carol Medlicott
(paperback, 2013)

Joy of Angels: Shaker Spirituals for Christmas and The New Year
Compiled by Mitzie Collins and Colleen Liggett/ Introduction by Roger Hall
(Sampler Records Ltd., book and CD,1995)

Love is Little: A Sampling of Shaker Spirituals
Compiled and Annotated by Roger Hall
(Sampler Records Ltd. book and CD, 1996)

Millennial Praises: A Shaker Hymnal
Edited b
y Christian Goodwillie and Jane F. Crosthwaite
(hardcover, 2009).

Partake a Little Morsel: Popular Shaker Hymns of the Nineteenth Century
Compiled by Carol Medlicott
(music collection, 2011).

Richard McNemar, Music, and the Western Shaker Communities. Branches of One Living Tree, by Carol Medlicott and Christian Goodwillie
(hardcover, 2013).

Shaker Music: A Manifestation of American Folk Culture
by Harold E. Cook
(hardcover, 1973).

The Shakers of White Water, Ohio, 1823-1916 (paperback, 2014).
Chapter 5: "Music" by Carol Medlicott. Also Shaker music editions in Appendix 5.

The Shaker Spiritual
by Daniel W. Patterson
(1st edition, Princeton University Press, 1979)
(2nd edition with new introduction, Dover Publications, 2000).

Books - Not Recommended

Selling Shaker - Stephen Bowe and Peter Richmond

Shaker Music - Frederick William Evans (reprint edition)

Simple Gifts - Great Hymns by Bill Henderson


Shaker Music Articles

Communal Societies

Journal of Church Music

The Shaker Messenger

The Shaker Quarterly

Shakers World

Sing Out! Magazine

Sonneck Society Bulletin For American Music

Newspaper Articles

Book Reviews

Come Life, Shaker Life: 50 Shaker Tunes Arranged For Appalachian Dulcimer

Heavenly Visions: Shaker Gifts Drawings and Gift Songs

Historical Dictionary of the Shakers

Issachar Bates: A Shaker's Journey

Millennial Praises: A Shaker Hymnal

shaker songs: a celebration of peace, harmony and simplicity

Other items of intereststrest

Related links

PineTree Press

Shaker Music on CDs and DVDs



To Order Books or Sheet Music

Order the books from PineTree Press listed below
by making a donation or payment
for the requested amount,
payable by credit card to PineTree Productions,
through safe and secure PayPal.

Click on this button to




After you have made your donation, please send an email
with the title you wish to receive and your mailing address to:

Shaker Music Books


For any questions about ordering -- click here








The "Blended Together" booklet is now Sold Out but it is included on a CD-ROM computer disc with accompanying audio album of in-person interviews with Shaker sisters - see below

The booklet features a wealth of information about forty years of research by Roger Lee Hall, one of the most active Shaker music scholars, who has written over 700 pages about Shaker music in various books and music collections, as well as producing numerous CDs and multimedia DVDs or CDs.

Among the items in this pamphlet are: a time line of his Shaker music research, a brief survey of Shaker music in the 20th century, and exclusive interviews with three past Shaker sisters: two from Canterbury, New Hampshire, and one from Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

Also, there is a Checklist of Printed Shaker Hymnals, an extensive Bibliography and selective list of Shaker music recordings.

In addition there are illustrations of original Shaker music in their own unusual "letteral" notation, including "Gentle Words," "Love is Little," and the best known Shaker song, "Simple Gifts.





The booklet is available with an accompanying audio album, playable on any computer, and especially useful for students and researchers in Shaker studies.


These are the recordings with the Shakers:


To receive the multimedia CD-ROM
with the illustrated pamphlet,
and field recordings with interviews,
the cost is only $19.95,
payable to PineTree Productions,
through safe and secure PayPal.
Shipping is included.

Click on this button to




After you have made payment,
to insure proper delivery,
please send your mailing address to:

Blended Together CD-ROM








The most extensive book
about the best known Shaker song

The book (120 pages) is included on a computer disc with bonus picture gallery, audio and video features.

The book discusses the beginnings of Shaker music from its origin in England and several distinct music types (gift songs and dance songs) in America.

Also, there is a biographical profile of Elder Joseph Brackett and background about two of his best known songs: "Simple Gifts" and "The True Vine." His dance song "Simple Gifts" is traced from its origin in 1848 to its re-discovery in the 20th century and new song based on the Shaker tune, "Lord of the Dance."

Also, how the song has influenced many people in our time and has become a very popular American folk spiritual, including being performed at three U.S. Presidential Inaugurations.

The book is available in PDF and the music examples are mp3.

Read how to order this book,

Click here




"Come Life, Shaker Life":
The Life and Music of Elder Issachar Bates

The book is available on a CD-ROM
with sheet music and music examples




I. Early Years
II. Fifer in the American Revolution
III. Baptist Song Leader
IV. Shaker Missionary Travels
V. Shaker Tunesmith
VI. Final Years


Music Supplement:

Hymn: "Rights of Conscience"
Hymn: "The Gospel Sound"
Anthem: "Mount Zion"
Dance Song: "Step Tune"
Hymn: "Ode to Contentment"
Dance Song: "Come Life, Shaker Life"
Song: "Lovely Gospel Kindred"
Funeral Hymn: "Almighty Savior"


This CD-ROM multi-media computer disc is payable to PineTree Productions by credit card through safe and secure PayPal.

To order this title, go to -- Isschar Bates Song Comparison





For the Love of Zion:
Thirty Shaker Spirituals
(PineTree Music, 2007)

The printed book is now SOLD OUT,
but it is available on a multi-media CD-ROM
with the sheet music and music album of 30 Shaker spirituals


This music collection available only on DVD-ROM has Shaker songs and hymns not available anywhere else. The 30 spirituals have been sensitively arranged for SATB by Jack Bomer. The collection was edited by Roger Hall. Also included on the DVD, playable on your computer, is a folder with all 30 Shaker spirituals performed by a vocal quartet from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, known as -- "Simplicity."




Titles on the music album:

1.  We Have Found the Promised Savior (Lebanon, NY)
2.  Sweet Love (Eastern Shaker song)
3.  Good Brethren From the Holy Mount (Elsa Parson, Enfield, Connecticut)
4.  Here Take This Lovely Flower (Elmira Adams, Harvard, MA, 1847)
5.  O What Pretty Souls (Joshua Bennett, Enfield, Connecticut, 1837)
6.  The Humble Heart (Eunice Wyeth/Thomas Hammond, Harvard, MA)
7.  O Brethren Ain't You Happy (Clarissa Jacobs, Lebanon, about 1847)
8.  Christ's Suffering (Canterbury, New Hampshire, date unknown)
9.  My Love is My Mother (South Union, Kentucky, 1821)
10. The Rolling Deep (Polly Lawrence, Sodus, New York, 1826)
11. I Never Did Believe (Betsy Bates, Lebanon, New York, 1829)
12. Lay Me Low (Addah Z. Potter, Lebanon, New York, 1838)
13. I Will Bow and Be Simple (Mary Hazard, Lebanon, New York, 1840s)
14. The Hallelujah Hymn (Polly M. Rupe, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky)
15. I Have a Soul to be Saved or Lost (Enfield, New Hampshire, 1865)
16. Mother's Love is Like an Ocean (Assanath Wilhite, South Union,KY)
17. Mother's Mantle (Lebanon, New York, 1821)
18. More Love (Canterbury, New Hampshire, about 1870)
19. Slow Song (Eastern Shaker song)
20. Pretty Love and Union (John Whitbey, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, 1824)
21. Living Souls Let's Be Marching (Tyringham, Massachusetts)

22. I'm On My Way to Zion (unknown community)
23. Love is Little (South Union, Kentucky, 1834)
24. A New Zion (Alfred, Maine, 1837)
25. Virgins Cloth'd in a Clean White Garment (Sabbathday Lake, 1830s)
26. Low Within the Vale (Paulina Bryant, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, 1850)
27. My Sweet Home in Zion (Otis Sawyer, Sabbathday Lake, Maine)
28. Brilliant Gem (Anna White , Lebanon, 1859)
29. Simple Gifts (Joseph Brackett Jr., Alfred, Maine, 1848)
30. Earnest Petition (unknown community)



To receive the multimedia CD-ROM, playable on computer.
with sheet music of the Shaker arrangements by Jack Bomer,
and the music album with all the Shaker spirituals
the price is only $19.95 including shipping,
payable to PineTree Productions,
through safe and secure PayPal.
Shipping is included.

Click on this button to




After you have made payment,
to insure proper delivery,
please send your mailing address to:

For the Love of Zion DVD-ROM




Shaker Music in the 20th Century

(PineTree Press, 2015)

Excerpt from the title song:

Give good gifts one to another,
Peace, joy and comfort gladly bestow;
Harbor no ill 'gainst sister or brother,
Smooth life's journey, as you onward go.

"Give Good Gifts" by Sister Martha Jane Anderson expresses the wish of caring for others. It was first published in the 1893 Shaker hymnal and has been recorded several times, the first one in 1995 by The Sampler Chorus. Thus, "Give Good Gifts" has become known in the 20th century and that is the focus of this new informational DVD, which includes the following:

  • Lyrics book with 25 Shaker spirituals, including "Give Good Gifts"
  • Sheet music collection with 12 Shaker spirituals
  • Image gallery with original Shaker music, leaders, music programs.
  • Bonus music albums: "Gentle Words" and "Willow Tree"
  • Bonus video clips

The lyrics book is dedicated "In Loving Memory of Sister R. Mildred Barker" from the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community. It was compiled and edited by Shaker music scholar and singer, Roger Lee Hall , and contains historical material about Shaker music performed during the 20th century. Among the treasures in the book are the many discoveries made by Mr. Hall over the past 40 years of his research.

Part One of the book includes a brief history of Shaker music written by a Canterbury Shaker. Also, a conversation from 1972 with two Canterbury Shakers: Eldress Bertha Lindsay and Sister Lillian Phelps. In addition, there is a time line of important events during the 20th century, including little known facts and unique illustrations, such as the Canterbury Shaker Orchestra and a sample concert program from 1932.

Part Two contains the words and commentary for the 25 Shaker songs, hymns, and anthems from the 19th century and sung during the 20th century with accompanying music files.

There are many attractive illustrations in color and black & white, including Shaker church leaders and sample music manuscripts.

At the back of the book is an exclusive interview with composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990) about his arrangements of "Simple Gifts."

One of the additional items included on this computer disc is a collection titled, "How Happy Are They," with 12 Shaker spirituals from Kentucky and Ohio edited and arranged by Roger Lee Hall.

Also, there are several scholarly articles written by Mr. Hall, including his first article from 1975 titled, "Shaker Hymnody: An American Communal Tradition," with this illustration of a Shaker hymn in alphabet music notation:

There are also several bonus features:

Music albums:

Two music albums with Shaker songs and hymns. One album is titled "Gentle Words" and has all the Shaker spirituals in the lyrics book, including "Give Good Gifts." The other album, titled "Willow Tree," has additional Shaker spirituals, performed from arrangements by various soloists and choruses.

Video clips:

Six Shaker spirituals performed and filmed at two concerts in 2013 by The Canterbury Singers, Kathryn Southworth, Director -- the music is available on the CD, "Celestial Praises" -- click here


This DVD is for educational or personal use.

Make your donation to help support
American Music Preservation,
payable by credit card in US funds
to PineTree Productions,
through safe and secure PayPal.

To order "Give Good Gifts" (Featured Title No. 7)
go to the AMP Store,

Click here







A Guide to Shaker Music --
With Music Supplement

(PineTree Press, 6th edition, 2006)



This popular guide was first published in 1996. It has remained the most extensive reference guide for Shaker music. Now in its 6th edition, it contains the following information:

  • Chronology: Evolution of Shaker music
  • Shaker tunes and tunesmiths including list of Top Twelve recorded Shaker tunes
  • Where to find original Shaker music
  • Selected music for voice and instruments
  • Shaker tunes vs. folk tunes
  • Descriptions of Shaker music and dance
  • Where to look for further information
  • What music has been recorded on LP and CD


Also included in the Guide is a Music Supplement with 15 Shaker songs and hymns for solo voice and keyboard; or SAB and SATB chorus; composed and arranged by Roger Hall.



The printed book, A Guide to Shaker Music (6th edition),
is now SOLD OUT.

The 6th edition with the sheet music supplement,
is included as Music Collection No. 3
on the multi-media DVD,

The Humble Heart - A Forty Year Survey of Shaker Music



How Happy Are They:
Twelve Shaker Spirituals
from Kentucky and Ohio
(PineTree Music, 2007)

This songbook with music examples is available on the DVD,
"Give Good Gifts: Shaker Music in the 20th Century,"
and to read how to order it -- click here







"May We Ever Be United"
Music of the North Union, Ohio Shakers


Available now in a revised and expanded edition, this music collection was compiled and edited by Shaker music scholar, Roger Lee Hall. It includes a representative sampling of tunes from the Shaker community at North Union, Ohio. The material was compiled from many years of research and includes source identifications and the most complete information about composers and music from this northern Ohio Shaker community (today known as Shaker Heights).

Also featured are an extensive time line of North Union Shaker history (1822-1889), a checklist of all known Shaker tunes from North Union, illustrations of original Shaker tunes, a description of Alma McGill's manuscript music book, plus a bibliography and a list of recordings.

North Union Shaker Spirituals included in this collection:

1. Song: May We Ever Be United - Philander Curtis Cramer, 1835

2. Song: Little Children Be Awake - Samuel Russell, 1845

3. Song: The Bending Work - James Mott, 1847

4. Anthem: My Faithful Lovely Children - John Root, Rachel Russell,
Jeremiah Ingalls, Jr., Permelia Torrey, 1847

5. Anthem: Praise to the Lord - words: Jeremiah Ingalls Jr./
music: Sewel G. Thayer, 1847

6. Hymn: Home in Zion - Sophia Hoffmann, 1849

7. Song: Join Together Heart and Hand, 1853

8. Song: With My Arm of Love and Blessing - Rhoda Watson, 1855

9. Song: My Well Beloved Children - James Sullivan Prescott, 1856

10. Funeral Hymn: Dear Friends Gather Near - Melinda Torrey, 1858
(For Elder Jeremiah Ingalls Jr.)

11. Marching Song: O May the Gospel Trumpet, 1860

12. Spring Song: There's Life in Every Lovely Flower -
Watson Andrews,1860

13. Round Dance Song: More Fire - George Washington Ingalls, 1862

14. March Song: O Ye Children of Zion, 1862

15. Christmas Hymn: Behold Our Saviour Has Come -
Elmina Phillips, ca. 1869

Bonus Features:

Music collection: A Western Shaker Music Sampler

Music examples of North Union Shaker music.




"May We Ever Be United" -
Music of the North Union, Ohio Shakers
(PineTree Press, PTM 1046)


The complete collection is available on a DVD-ROM
for $19.95.
Shipping is included (USA orders only).

For Overseas Air Mail orders, go to the AMP Store-- click here.

Make your payment by credit card
payable to PineTree Productions,
through safe and secure PayPal.

Click on this button:



After you have placed your order,
please send your mailing address to this link:

Music of the North Union Shakers









Available separately is an attractive broadside
with the words and music of the Shaker dance song
on heavy cover stock (8 1/2 X 11)
for display or gift-giving:

To order this colorful music broadside of "Simple Gifts"
and other broadsides too,
go to the





Not Recommended Books

Selling Shaker: The Commodification of Shaker Design in the Twentieth Century

by Stephen Bowe and Peter Richmond

This large and weighty volume discusses the "value--art--politics" of Shaker design, yet gives no more than a passing reference to Shaker music in the Twentieth Century. The authors neglect to discuss the "value" of this important aspect of Shaker culture. And what the authors list in the Bibliography is wrong as well.

Under "Television, Video, Music and Radio Material" their listing for the CD collection, Let Zion Move: Music of the Shakers, gives credit to:

"Hall, H., Thompson, D & Phelps, L."

The correct first name should be "Hall, R." [Roger Hall], who edited and wrote the notes for this CD collection. Most of the Shaker recordings were compiled by William Randle, who is not listed at all. "Thompson, D." [Darryl Thompson] only wrote the Preface. "Phelps, L." [Lillian Phelps] was one of the Shakers who narrated on the recordings but the other Shaker sister who was also a narrator, R. Mildred Barker, is not listed. Why not include all these people? Or if limited to a few names, then it should be Roger Hall and William Randle, who were both responsible for this CD collection.

The other important recording by the Sabbathday Lake Shakers, Early Shaker Spirituals, is not even listed in the Bibliography of the book.

While music is not the main focus of this book, the incorrect information or lack of it about these two essential recordings by 20th century Shakers and the lack of discussion of this important aspect of Shaker culture demonstrates the research was lacking in this area of Selling Shaker.

The importance of music in Shaker life remains under appreciated, especially by collectors and writers.

To read more about two recordings with Shaker singing, see Early Shaker Spirituals and the Let Zion Move 2 CD set at

CD Releases




Shaker Music - Frederick William Evans


This Nabu Public Domain Reprint Press copy is sold by

The generic cover with ballet shoes is totally out of context with Shaker music. This reprint is actually of the Shaker hymnal originally published by Weed, Parsons and Company in Albany, New York in 1875.

But the Nabu reprint has been printed in the wrong format!

Instead of printing it oblong like the original it is printed like a regular vertical hymnbook, so every page and every piece of music is cut off at the left or right side of the page and thus is incomplete.

Here is one of the incomplete pages with music cut off on the left side:


Here is how that same page should look, as reprinted correctly by AMS Press:

There is also no Title Page in the Nabu reprint.

It was printed correctly by AMS Press as shown here:


Didn't anyone look at this hymnal copy before it was reprinted by Nabu? It should be obvious that it was printed incorrectly, even if you can't read the music.

If you can still find it, the AMS Press reprint from 1974 is the one to buy.

The Nabu copy is a worthless reprint.

Buyer Beware!





Simple Gifts: One Man's Search for Grace

Simple Gifts - Great Hymns: One Man's Search for Grace

by Bill Henderson

At first glance, this seems like a worthwhile collection of thoughts about some of the best known hymns. Mr. Henderson is certainly entitled to his "search for grace" and that is an admirable pursuit.  But why at the expense of his uninformed writing about some of the hymns he has chosen?  

Read the complete review at this link:

Book and CD Reviews





Order Shaker music collections
at the





Articles About Shaker Music

This section has a list of articles focusing on Shaker music.

Some of these articles are available through this
web site
for a small charge for copying.

Write with specific requests

Shaker music articles



American Communal Societies Quarterly

Volume 1, No. 3 (July 2007) -

"The Shaker Leaf Song: Solving a Perplexing Puzzle"
by Roger L. Hall


Common-Place (American Antiquarian Society)

Volume 13, No. 2 (Winter, 2013) -

"Let's mingle our feelings" - Gender and Collectivity in the Music of the Shaker West
by Carol Medlicott. Online article

Communal Societies

Volume Two (Autumn 1982): "Shaker Music." Daniel W. Patterson

Volume Three (1983): "The Shaker Spiritual" by Daniel W. Patterson, book review by Roger L. Hall

Journal of Church Music

Volume 17, Number 8 (October 1975)/ article reprinted in The Hymn (January 1976): "Shaker Hymnody: An American Communal Tradition" by Roger L. Hall

Volume 24, Number 2 (February 1982): "An Interview with Aaron Copland" by Roger L. Hall

The Shaker Journal ( no longer available Online)

Vicki Bell: "Music of the Angels"

Randy Folger: "The Pleasant Hill Singers Record a New CD"

Roger Hall: "Religion in Song - The Craftsmanship of Shaker Music"

The Shaker Messenger

A magazine produced by The World of Shaker in Holland, Michigan, from the 1970s to the 1990s, and no longer published.

In each issue there was a Shaker song or hymn compiled and edited by Roger Hall in the "Shaker Song Series."

This was the longest-running series since the Shakers published music in their own publication, The Manifesto, in the late 19th century.

Between 1981 and 1996, there were 56 Shaker tunes in the series.

The Shaker Quarterly

A journal published by the Sabbathday Lake Shakers beginning in 1961 but no longer published today. These are the articles mentioning Shaker music:

Volume I, Number 1 (Spring 1961: "The Shakers' Sundry Strange Tunes," by Daniel W. Patterson.

Volume II, Number 2 (Summer 1962): "A Ballad by Elder Issachar Bates," by Daniel W. Patterson.

Volume IV, Number 4 (Winter 1964): "Mother Has Come With Her Beautiful Song," by Sister R. Mildred Barker.

Volume V, Number 1 (Spring 1965): "The Rolling Deep," by Sister R. Mildred Barker.

Volume V, Number 2 (Summer 1965): "My Sweet Home in Zion," by Brother Theodore E. Johnson.

Volume VI, Number 3 (Fall 1966): "The Influence of Inspiration and Discipline upon the Development of the Shaker Spiritual," by Daniel W. Patterson.

Volume VII, Number 2 (Summer 1967): "History of Union Branch, Gorham, Maine." Sister R. Mildred Barker. Biographical information about Elder Joseph Brackett and his song, "Simple Gifts."

Volume VII, Number 2 (Fall 1967): "O Thou God of My Salvation," by Brother Theodore E. Johnson.

Volume X, Number 4 (Winter 1970): "Eldress Mary Ann Gillespie's 'Beautiful Are They Who Stand Upon Zion," by Brother Theodore E. Johnson.

Volume XIV, Number 4 (Winter 1974): "The Shaker Dove,"
by Daniel W. Patterson.

Volume XVI, Number 3 (Fall 1988): "The 'Simple Gifts' of Elder Joseph Brackett Jr," by Wendell Hess.

Volume XVII, Number 4 (Winter 1989): "Implications of Late 19th Century Shaker Music," by Daniel W. Patterson.

Volume XVIII, Number 3 (Fall 1990): "Millennial Praises - Tune Location and Authorial Attributions of the First Shaker Hymnal," by Daniel W. Patterson.

Shakers World

Quarterly magazine no longer published. These are the titles from Roger Hall's music column in each issue:

Volume 1, Number 1 (May 1996): "To Edit or Not to Edit?"

Volume 1, Number 2 (August 1996): "What's Your Favorite Shaker Song?"

Volume 1, Number 3 (December 1996):
"Singing at Shaker Village Work Camp"

Volume 1, Number 4 (February 19977): "Collecting Shaker Spirituals"

Volume 2, Number 1 (June/July 1997):
"The Simple Gifts of Elder Joseph and Sister Mildred"

Sing Out! Magazine

In the Summer 1998 issue (Vol. 43/ No. 1) is an article titled:

"The Simple Gifts of Shaker Music" by Roger Hall

This lengthy article includes a history of Shaker music, and also included are the words and music for two Shaker spirituals: 

"Let Zion Move" -- Mary Ann Gillespie
"Ode to Contentment" --Tune: Issachar Bates/ Text: Richard Pelham

Along with the article are many illustrations and a list of sources, including CDs.


Sonneck Society Bulletin for American Music

Volume XVI, Number 3 (Fall 1990):
"Aaron Copland's 'Simple Gifts'" by Roger L. Hall

Volume XXIII, Number 3 (Fall 1997):
"Joseph Brackett's 'Simple Gifts." by Roger L. Hall


Newspaper Articles

Maine: Gray-New Gloucester Independent , February 15, 2008:

"Joseph Brackett's Simple Gifts" by Roger Hall

Background about the dance song and the Shaker leader who composed it.

Michigan: Detroit Free Press , November 11, 1998: 

"150 Years of 'Simple Gifts'" by David Crumm

This article was about the uses of the Shaker song from its original melody in 1848 to an arrangement in a TV commercial for the Oldsmobile Aurora car.

Lectures and Workshops

Are you interested in scheduling an informative music program
by Roger Hall, for your school, college, church, museum
or other organization?

For more information, click on this link for

Music Lectures and Workshops

Related Links


American Music Recordings Collection (AMRC) -- CDs with Shaker interviews and music recordings.

Book and CD Reviews -- titles relating to Shaker music.

CD and DVD Releases -- original and arranged Shaker tunes.

Communal Studies Association -- information about annual meetings and more.

Joseph Brackett's 'Simple Gifts' -- about the best known Shaker song.

Sabbathday Lake, Maine -- the last remaining active Shaker community.

Shaker Music History -- highlights from over two centuries

Shaker Music Preservation Series -- magazine music series and more.

Simplicity of Shaker Music -- about Shaker music notation and more.





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When using any of the original information found here
for research papers, books, magazines, CDs,
or media programs, please give credit to

American Music

For any questions, write to:

Shaker Music Query

Music of the Shakers -
Research and Recordings


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More Information:

CD and DVD Releases

Shaker Lectures and Workshops

Shaker Music Archive

Memorial Tributes:

Sister Mildred Barker

Sister Marie Burgess

Eldress Bertha Lindsay



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