New York: John Ross & Co. (Nation Press), 1871. First Edition. Hardcover. Very Good. Item #6699
First Edition, Second Issue. 8vo. Pp. xxxviii, [xxxix] - xliv, 115, half-title. 136 scores with lyrics. Original purple cloth with gilt title to cover, brown coated endpapers. Covers unevenly faded, hinge cracked at title-page though tight. A reissue using the sheets of the 1867 first edition published by A. Simpson & Co., with the imprint on a cancel slip mounted over the original imprint. Association copy. Signature of Theo. F. Seward (1835-1902) to title-page. Seward, music educator, composer, editor of many music periodicals in New York, took charge of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, wrote down more than one hundred of their plantation melodies, and, while making the tour of Europe with them in 1875-76 became impressed with the advantages of the tonic sol-fa system, the new system of musical instruction. In 1877 he established the system in the United States. This historic collection was the first collection of slave songs to appear in print, and was compiled by white northerners who lived among the ex-slaves in the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia as teachers and missionaries. The 38-page preface offers valuable insight into performance practice, voice quality, song types, the shout, and other aspects of slave songs. The detailed Table of Contents indicates the geographical sources of the songs and the names of the contributors, and notes are attached to many of the songs. Ref: Southern and Wright, #1072 - "African-American Traditions in Song, Sermon, Tale, and Dance, 1600s-1920."