Early American Secular Music and Its
European Sources, 1589–1839: An Index


What This Is

This is a series of indexes derived from a data base of musical information compiled from primary sources covering the 250 years of the initial exploration and settlement of the United States. It consists of over 75,000 entries that are sorted by text (titles, first lines, recitatives, chorus and burden), by music incipits (represented in scale degrees, stressed notes and interval sequences), with additional indexes of names and theater works. Now in electronic format, the data can be fully searched, not only for initial strings, but also for internal words and melody sections.

The original project, of which this data base is an expansion, was initially sponsored by The Sonneck Society, now the Society for American Music. It was funded in part by two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and grants from the City University of New York Research Award Program. It was published on microfiche by University Music Editions in two parts: 

     •   Keller, Kate Van Winkle and Carolyn RabsonNational Tune Index:18th-C. Secular Music (New York: University Music Editions, 1980) 
     •   Camus, Raoul F.National Tune Index: Early American Wind and Ceremonial Music: 1636–1836 (New York: University Music Editions, 1989). 

Genres Included In the Database

   American Imprints
   American Manuscripts
   British and European Social Dance
   British and European Instrumental Music
   British, Canadian, Mexican and European Manuscripts
   British Musical Theater

American Imprints: (AI: 270 Sources, 11,310 Items)
All available American secular music imprints to 1800 and selected sources to 1839 including
   All known dance books to 1839
   Instrumental collections
   Song books
   Song sheets and sheet music
   Songs with musical notation in periodicals
   Ballad operas and theater works
   Tunes listed on musical clocks
    Most of the works of Francis Johnson, a noted black Philadelphia band leader active in the early nineteenth century American Manuscripts: (AM: 145 Sources, 11,192 Items)
Handwritten collection of tunes and dances from 1721–1831, including MSS by John Quincy Adams, Henry Beck, Pierre Landrin Duport, Francis Johnson, Peter Gansevoort, John Greenwood, John Ives, William Litten, John Ormsby, Philip Roth, Ship’s Logs, The Tuesday Club of Annapolis, and Andrew Wilson

British, French, German, Netherlandish, and Spanish Social Dance: (PL & DA: 139 Sources, 17,239 Items
Most major collections from 1651–1816, including 
   PlayfordThe (English) Dancing Master (Playford [and others], 1651–1728, all editions (PL: 25 Sources, 6,283 Items)
   Dance Collections: Arbeau’s Orchésographie (1589), Ferriol’s Reglas (1745), Feuillet’s Recüeils (1706 and 1710), collections by Landrin and LaCuisse from the 1760s and 1770s, and all major British collections published by Walsh, Rutherford, Johnson, Thompson and Wilson from 1708 to 1816 including the Caledonian Country Dances, and a number of smaller books, including dances in British periodicals and three books by Ignatius Sancho, a black musician active in the 1760s and 1770s in London (DA: 114 Sources, 10,956 Items)

British and European Instrumental Music: (IC: 277 Sources, 14,607 Items)
Pocket books, tutors, scores, and sheet music including:
   Playford’s Apollo’s Banquet, all editions from 1670–1701 
   Scottish tune collections from 1700 and the 1720s 
   LeClerc’s Paris publications (1730s) and LaCuisse and Landrin (1760s–1770s)
   Pointel’s Amsterdam and Paris publications of 1688 and 1700 
   All known wind band, military and ceremonial music, including duty calls and drum notation from Hardoun’s collection for hunting horn (1394) to British Bugle Sounds (1833) 
   All known tutors for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, fife and drum

British, Canadian, Mexican and European Manuscripts: (MS: 46 Sources, 6,059 Items)
A representative selection of music manuscripts from 1591–1820, including the Darmstadt MSS, Fitzwilliam Book, Lorin’s and Philidor’s MSS for Louis XIV, the “Eleanor Hague Manuscript,” also MSS by Elizabeth Rogers, John Fife, and William Vickers
   4 Canadian, 1768–1793
   8 French, 1685–1795 
   5 Scottish, 1750–1798
   18 English, 1591–1810
   1 Irish, 1764
   7 German, 1710–1820
   1 Mexican, 1772

Songs: (SC & SS: 55 Sources, 9,647 Items)
   American song collections and sheet music are included in American Imprints above and there are many songs in the two Manuscript genres. 
   In addition, two groups of song collections were indexed, as usual collecting not only the tunes, but also names of composers, librettists, theater works with which the songs were associated, plus titles, first lines, recitative first lines, indicated tune names, burden, and chorus lines:
   British Song Collections: 34 English songbooks, from Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719), Orpheus Caledoneus (1733) and Bickham’s Musical Entertainer (1738–1740) to Calliope (1788), and 8 Scottish songbooks, from Scots Musical Museum (1787) to Edinburgh Musical Miscellany (1792) (SC: 43 Sources, 5,560 Items)
   British Song Sheets: large volumes of British sheet music in five American libraries: Boston Public Library, Folger Library, Harvard University Library (Marshall Collection), The Huntington Library, and New York Public Library (SS: 12 Sources, 4,087 Items)

British Musical Theater: (BA & TW:238 Sources, 5784 Items)
   Ballad operas with music or indicated tune names (BA: 175 Sources, 4,302 Items)
   Musical theater works from 1745–1794, selected for their popularity or their influence on the development of British-American popular song and theater, from Arne’s The Judgement of Paris to Samuel Arnold’s Auld Robin Gray (TW: 63 Sources, 1,482 Items)

The Electronic Edition

For this electronic edition, the data bases that comprised the two editions of The National Tune Index have been expanded. A number of sources have been added to broaden the coverage of American and British manuscript material. All extant editions of Playford’s Apollo’s Banquet (1670–1701) and several early Scottish tune collections have been added to strengthen the representation of that early period. All American dance manuscripts and printed books have been added. Several books and manuscripts listed as unlocated in NTI-2 have now been found and added to the data, including the earliest known tutor for the drum. The data base now covers over 75,000 musical pieces dating between 1394 and 1839 and forms a solid basis for the study of early American secular music and its European sources. Researchers will find that the new electronic edition is considerably easier to use and permits searches on internal strings. EASMES will prove to be a valuable source for those working in interdisciplinary studies. Scholars interested in early vernacular and semi-classical music, dance, and song will find most of the major printed British sources from 1651–1810 indexed and accessible through their titles, first lines, chorus lines, incipits, stressed notes, and the interval sequence of the incipit as well as any indications of author, librettist, and larger work with which the item may have been associated. Earlier European sources for wind instruments help to establish the sources of British materials and traditions that subsequently came to America. All American imprints of secular music to 1800 are included and selected early 19th-century American printed and manuscript sources. These demonstrate the power of tradition and fashion over the repertory. 

A large group of manuscript song, dance, and tune collections of American, English, Scottish, German, Canadian, and French origin help to identify which pieces from the printed repertory were actually in use. Tunes selected for eighteenth-century American musical clocks also show what music was most in fashion and will help in the rehabilitation of these immensely valuable artifacts. Researchers creating historically correct musical settings for stage and film will find information invaluable for choosing appropriate background or feature selections. 

The indexes give ready access to many unknown and hard-to-find sources, with library identification, call number, and precise page numbers. The data can be searched for specific tunes, special arrangements (piano/vocal score, instrumental combinations, etc.), or for general repertory identification.  Because the music is indexed in a numerical scale-degree code, tunes for which no title is known can also quickly be located.

The Indexes

There are eight major indexes in the electronic edition of EASMES.  Source Index: bibliography of all sources alphabetically by short title
Genre Index: bibliography of all sources grouped in genres
Name Index: authors, compilers, composers, librettists, publishers, owners
Theater Work Index: stage & multi-movement works mentioned in source
Text Index: titles, alternate titles, first lines, recitatives, indicated tunes, burden texts
Music Indexes
   Incipit Index: first three measures of music in scale degrees, represented by numbers
   Stress Note Index: rhythmic stress points of first three measures of music
   Interval Index: first three measures of music by intervals

Who Will Use this Material

   Dance specialists
   Antiques restorers
   Literary scholars
   Theatrical producers
   Searchers for tunes without names
   Social scientists and statisticians
   Commercial interests

Sample Applications

Using the search command, historians looking for all music associated with George and Martha Washington would locate items under “Genl,” “Lady Washington,” “G. Wash.,” and “A Toast” in addition to a number of pieces dedicated to or performed for Washington but whose titles did not begin “Wash.”Dance specialists searching for all versions of the old dance “Sir Roger de Coverly” would find many hiding under the title of “Old Roger,” “Young Roger,” and “New Roger.” In addition, a survey of 9/8 tunes will produce a number of unexpected concordances with entirely different titles. 

Folklorists interested in songs associated with weddings could use internal text searches on marriage, bride, etc., and through the location of associated lyrics could find the meaning of such dance titles as “White Joke” and “Black Joke” that are often associated with marriage in contemporary satires. 

Several antiques restorers and dealers have used the index to date the selection of tunes on early musical clocks. In addition, when restoration is in progress, versions of the tunes selected by the original craftsman can often be located in documents produced near the location of his shop.

Literary scholars will find that searches for specific words may turn up musical settings for lyrics relating to topics of interest. A recent search conducted for a scholar interested dogs and shepherds produced a number of interesting lyrics that will inform a sociological study of the changing perception of shepherding as a profession. 

Theatrical producers and directors seeking music for historical presentation will find period sources with authentic music of each period covered by the Index. 

Searchers for tunes for which no title is known are the main reason this data base was created. The frustrating feeling of knowing that a certain tune is there, but not remembering the name, can be assuaged by looking it up in the tune index. In addition, searched for a particular sequence of notes within the first three measures of music can also be fruitful. While the opening notes of many melodies change a little from version to version, the second and third measures often display more stability. Thus, searching internally helps to locate additional concordances or points up unsuspected relationships between tunes and tune families. 

Social scientists and statisticians can now do statistical analysis through machine access, which has never been attempted on 16th–18th-century music in this scope. Studies of musical attributes prove very revealing, such as the use of certain keys for specific instruments or genres of music, or the appearance of rhythmic structures or time signatures in dance genres. For example, a detailed analysis of the shift in popular taste from the minuet to the waltz can be made from this data, using searches in text data and a compilation of relevant titles and time signatures. 

Comparison of data from manuscript and printed sources will inform a study of the role played by commercial interests in the marketing of cultural trends and fashion. 

How To Get Copies

This database contains detailed information about a huge number of printed and manuscript source materials. It does not include images or sound files of the actual music. To obtain a copy of an item in the index, contact the holding library listed in “Bibliography Data.” Be sure to include Title of piece, Title of Source, Page number and call number. To find the holding library, click on “Short Title” of item you are interested in. This will take you to “Bibliography Data.” Under “Location” you will see the holding library and call number for that source.


We wish to express our cordial thanks to the individual collectors as well as to the staffs and governing bodies of the many libraries and institutions in America and abroad who facilitated inclusion of information from their pertinent holdings in The National Tune Index and in this reissued and expanded new work. We thank Carolyn and Gustave Rabson for providing tapes of the source data for the first phase. Finally we are deeply grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the City University of New York, the (Sonneck) Society for American Music, and to University Music Editions of New York for recognizing the importance and unique qualities of this research tool and making possible the first two phases from which this new electronic edition was developed.


References, Abbreviations, and Symbols
Cooper Cooper, M. Francis. A Checklist of American Imprints 1820–1829. 6 vols. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1964–1971.
Curti Curti, Martha Margaret. “John Playford’s Apollo’s Banquet 1670.” Ph.D. diss., Rutgers University, 1977.
E Evans, Charles. American Bibliography [1639–1800]. 14 vols. Chicago: Blakely Press. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1903–1959. (For microprint facsimile edition, see Shipton-1)
Fuld Fuld, James J., and Mary Wallace Davidson. 18th-Century American Secular Music Manuscripts: An Inventory. Philadelphia: Music Library Association, 1980.
Hixon Hixon, Donald L. Music in Early America: A Bibliography of Music in Evans. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1970.
Humphries Humphries, Charles, and William C. Smith. Music Publishing in the British Isles from the Beginning until the Middle of the Nineteenth Century. 2d ed., with suppl. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1970.
Kastner Kastner, Georges. Manuel général de musique militaire à l’usage des armées françaises. Paris: Didot Frères, 1848; Reprint. Geneva: Minkoff, 1973.
Keller Keller, Kate Van Winkle. Popular Secular Music in America through 1800. A Preliminary Checklist of Manuscript Sources in North American Collections. Philadelphia: Music Library Association, 1981.
Lennert Lennert, V. “Altpreussische Militair-Märsche.” Thouret M.M.644. Manuscript, 1893, in the Königliche Hausbibliothek, Berlin.
Lowens Lowens, Irving. A Bibliography of Songsters Printed in American Before 1821. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1976.
NTI/1 Keller, Kate Van Winkle and Carolyn Rabson. The National Tune Index: 18th-Century Secular Music. New York: University Music Editions, 1980.
NTI/2 Camus, Raoul. The National Tune Index: Early American Wind and Ceremonial Music 1636–1836. New York: University Music Editions, 1989.
Pierre Pierre, Constant. Les Hymnes et chansons de la révolution. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1904.
Rubsamen Rubsamen, Walter, ed. The Ballad Opera. New York: Garland Publishing, 1974.
Schnapper Schnapper, Edith B., ed. The British Union-Catalogue of Early Music Printed before the year 1801. London: Butterworths Scientific Publications, 1957.
SS Shaw, Ralph R. and Richard H. Shoemaker. American Bibliography, A Preliminary Checklist. [1801–1819]. 22 vols. New York: Scarecrow Press, 1958–1964. (For microprint facsimile edition, see Shipton-2.)
Shipton-1 Shipton, Clifford K., et al., eds. Early American Imprints, 1639–1800. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1956. Reproduction on Readex Microprint of the tems listed in Evans, American Bibliography.
Shipton-2 Shipton, Clifford K. et al., eds. Early American Imprints. 2nd Series, 1801–1819. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1964. Reproduction on Readex Microprint of the items listed in Shaw and Shoemaker, American Bibliography.
Simpson Simpson, Adrienne. “A Short-Title List of Printed English Instrumental Tutors up to 1800, Held in British Libraries.” Royal Music Association Research Chronicle No. 6, 1966, 24–50.
Smith Smith, William C. A Bibliography of the Musical Works Published by John Walsh During the Years 1695–1720. London: The Bibliographical Society, 1968.
S&H Smith, William C. and Charles Humphries. A Bibliography of the Musical Works Published by the Firm of John Walsh During the Years 1721–1766. London: The Bibliographical Society, 1968.
Sonneck-Upton Sonneck, Oscar George Theodore. A Bibliography of Early Secular American Music. Revised and enlarged by William Treat Upton. 1945. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1964.
Thouret Thouret, Georg. Katalog der Musiksammlung auf der Königlichen Hausbibliothek im Schlosse zu Berlin. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1895.
Warner Warner, Thomas E. An Annotated Bibliography of Woodwind Instruction Books, 1600–1830. Detroit: Information Coordinators, 1967.
Whitwell Whitwell, David. Band Music of the French Revolution. Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1979.
Wolfe Wolfe, Richard J. Secular Music in America, 1801–1825, A Bibliography. New York: New York Public Library, 1964.
A America (M) Composer of music
A: Author, composer or arranger MF Microfilm
AM American Imprints Genre MI Melody Instrument
AP A Flat MS Manuscripts Genre
B Bass part NB: Editorial comments
BA Ballad Operas Genre NTI National Tune Index
BD Bass Drum (0) Early owner of source
BE Bells OB Oboe
BF Bass part, figured 1: Pitch of Do in music incipit
BI Bass instrument OP Opposite the indicated page
BP B Flat OR Organ
BS Bassoon (P) Printer
(BT) Burden Text, refrain, chorus P; PP Page; Pages
BU Bugle PF Pianoforte
C Canada PF: Performer
(C) Compiler of source PFF Pianoforte, figured bass
C (with a date) Circa PI Pipe, Flagolet
CD Country Dances PL Playford Dancing Master Genre
CF Common Flute PSEUD Pseudonym
CH Chalumeau R Recto of a leaf; right-hand page
CL Clarinet RC Recorder
CLS Sopranino Clarinet RUBSAMEN Rubsamen (See General Bibliography.)
CO Cornet S Scotland
CYM Cymbals SC Song Collections Genre
DA Dance Collections Genre SP Spinet
DF Dance Figures in source SPT Serpent
DR Snare or Side Drum SS Song Sheets Genre
E England S (with a number) Shaw-Shoemaker number (See General Bibliography.)
E (with a number) Evans number.(See General Bibliography.) T Page location of song text
(ED) Editorial information (T) (after a name) Author of text
EF English Flute (T) (after a text entry) Title, or Alternate Title
EP E Flat TAM Tambourine
F France TBN Trombone
FACS Facsimile of source TI Timpani
FH French Horn TP Title Page
FI Fife TR Trumpet
FL Flute TRI Triangle
FLP Piccolo TW Theatre Works Genre
(FL) First Line of song text TW: Theatre Work cited in source
(FL-R) First Line of recitative V Verso of leaf, left-hand page
GF German Flute V: Number of verses
GT Guitar VA Viola
HA Harpsichord VC Violoncello
HAF Harpsichord, figured bass VI Virginal
HN Horn VN Violin
I Ireland VO Voice
I: Instrumentation WELLS Wells (See General Bibliography. )
IC Instrumental Collections Genre X. (with a name) Private collection; Owner of source
(IT) Indicated Tune name    
J Janissary Instruments    
KB Keyboard    
KBF Keyboard, figured bass    
KD Kettledrums    
L Left- hand page    
LV; LVS Leaf; Leaves    
M Page location of music    
/ means “or”
, means “and”
+ means that an additional musical
score for the indicated instrument is included in the source
() encloses an indexed part in an ensemble,
other than the top line of the music
VN/OB/GF/RC A single line melody for violin, or oboe,
or German flute, or recorder
VO,HA + FL Voice with harpsichord accompaniment,
with a separate melody part for flute
2VN,VA,BS,HAF Scored for two violins, viola, bassoon,
and a harpsichord with figured bass
3VO:S(T)B The tenor part of a composition for  three voices was indexed
3FL/VO A trio for flutes or voices
20B/CL,2HN,BS Scored for two oboes or clarinets,
two horns, and bassoon