The American Vocalist

Shaker Songs: A Celebration of Peace, Harmony and Simplicity

Just as the stark beauty of Shaker craftsmanship and architecture is unsurpassed, so is the haunting loveliness of Shaker music. Music has long played a central role in Shaker worship—from the early songs that expressed pure, wordless feeling, to the later hymns and anthems, which reflected some of the musical modes of the day. Shaker Songs contains the distillation of more than two centuries of Shaker music and art--their remarkable power and quiet beauty is a testament to the Shaker vision of simplicity, proportion, and harmony.

This book was compiled and edited by Christian Goodwillie, Curator of Collections at Hancock Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, with contributions from Joel Cohen, Music Director of The Boston Camerata.

The book discusses and provides the scores for over 50 songs, which have been transcribed by Goodwillie and Cohen from original manuscripts. Throughout the text are scattered illustrations and photos depicting Shaker life. The accompanying CD, featuring performances by The Boston Camerata, the Harvard University Choir, and the Shaker Family of Sabbathday Lake, includes the following traditional songs:

Mother Ann's Song

Trumpet of Peace

Solemn Song of the Ancients

Stone Prison

Rights of Conscience

Holy Order Song

Untitled Dance Tune

The Harvest

Angel Invitation

Behold the Day

Indian Song

I am an Angel of Light

Four Little Angels

Consoling Dove

Simple Gifts (Quick Dance)

O Come, Come Away

Mother's Comforting Promise

All Glean With Care

Joyful Praises


Voice of the Angel of Mercy

The Blessings of Peace

Holy Habitation

Negro Songs

O Zion Arise

Sweet Angels Come Nearer

The Angel Reapers

The Path of Sorrow