The largest online source
for music of the American Shakers
The Spirit is calling, tenderly calling,
O Zion unfold in deep prayer;
O pray for the fathers, the sisters and brothers,
O pray for the whole household,
O pray for the mothers, remember all others,
O pray for the whole, whole world.
Please help support the preservation mission of this informational site.
Use this handy Search Box to order your merchandise from Amazon.com
A Few Notes of Introduction
This is the largest and most accurate online site about music of the United Society of Believers (better known as The Shakers), America's oldest religious communal society.
Musicians, researchers, teachers and students beware!
You should be careful when collecting research about Shaker music due to the amount of errors on some websites and in some books and articles focusing on Shaker history by some scholars. Oftentimes their mention of Shaker music is misleading or incorrect. For example, classifying all Shaker music as "songs." There are actually three types of Shaker music which are discussed at this link: The Simple Gifts of Shaker Music.
It is common for some people, even Shaker scholars, to list "Simple Gifts" with the wrong title, such as:
"The Gift to be Simple" or "Tis a Gift to be Simple," or classify it as "an anonymous Shaker hymn."
All of those identifications are incorrect.
Read about this best known Shaker song -- click here.
Giving Credit Where It Is Due
Many researchers and arrangers have failed to give proper credit to the editors of Shaker music. Also, they have not looked much beyond the best known Shaker song, "Simple Gifts." The Shakers produced thousands of tunes and many of them would be suitable for performance, providing they have been edited properly.
Without such editors as Joel Cohen, Mitzie Collins, Harold Cook, Mary Ann Haagen, Roger Lee Hall, Daniel W. Patterson and others, these Shaker spirituals would remain buried in manuscript music books in a box or storage chest somewhere. Without these editors, the music would likely stay lost.
Often it is just the arranger who gets the credit, not the editor who first discovered it and made it available in a performing edition.
Please give proper credit to the editors of Shaker music!
Most of the information on these pages was written by ethnomusicologist Roger Hall, who has researched and performed Shaker music for forty years. He should be credited for any information used on these music pages.
American Music Preservation.com is an informational site which receives no funding from outside foundations or organizations.
Please help keep this site online by making a donation with a credit card, payable to PineTree Productions, through safe and secure PayPal.
For a donation of $25 or more, you will receive a complimentary non-commercial CD, "Simple Gifts of Shaker Music, compiled by Shaker music scholar, Roger Hall,
with over one hour of music, including 6 different versions of the best known Shaker song, "Simple Gifts,"
and Free Shipping is included.
Click on this button to
After you have made your donation,
to receive your complimentary CD,
send your mailing address to:
A GUIDE TO SHAKER MUSIC - With Music Supplement
The Shakers used their own type of music notation
which they called - "the Letteral System."
This letteral notation was discussed in detail
in the first Master's Thesis on Shaker music,
researched and written by Roger L. Hall.
He has provided examples of this notation
in his book, A GUIDE TO SHAKER MUSIC,
with a Music Supplement containing15 Shaker spirituals)
available at this link:
A series of attractive 8 1/2 X 11 broadsides in full color.
This series includes
the words and/or music to selected Shaker songs,
edited by Roger Hall,
with colorful art design by Gail Hall.
They make ideal gifts and are suitable for framing.
There are currently six Shaker song titles in this series:
No. 1: "Simple Gifts" (Joseph Brackett Jr., Alfred, Maine, 1848)
[First line: 'Tis the gift to be simple 'tis the gift to be free]
No. 2: "Blended Together" (Joseph Holden, New Lebanon, NY, ca. 1870)
[First line: Blended together as one we stand] No. 3: "Gentle Words" (Polly M. Rupe, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, ca. 1867)
[First line: What the dew is to the flower, gentle words are to the soul]
No. 4:"Love is Little" (South Union, Kentucky, ca. 1834) - NEW!
[First line: Love is little, love is low ]
Back by popular demand! including popular Shaker songs like
"Come Life, Shaker Life" and "Simple Gifts"
plus an exclusive interview with composer, Aaron Copland,
and singing by Shaker sisters on this CD,