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Songs Before Unknown | R. L. Vaughn

Songs Before Unknown | R. L. Vaughn

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Songs Before Unknown is designed as a companion to The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012. The second chapter includes a biography of W. M. Cooper of Dothan, Alabama, early history of his revision of The Sacred Harp, and an overview of the course of its publication. Chapter three is comprised of biographical sketches of the composers with songs in the 2012 edition. Chapter four lists each song in the book, with the author of the hymn and composer of the tune, if known. Several appendices add both supporting and peripheral information. Songs Before Unknown breaks new ground in the study of The Sacred Harp from the viewpoint of the “Cooper Revision”.

About the Author:

Robert L. Vaughn is an independent history researcher, a native East Texan and a Baptist preacher. He is a fifth-generation Sacred Harp singer and a composer, and is Vice-Chairman of the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention (org. 1855). Vaughn is the author of several books, including Approaching 150: a Brief History of the East Texas Musical Convention and Sacred Harp in East Texas (Waymark Publications), and others.

Book Review:

Songs Before Unknown fills an important gap in the historiography of The Sacred Harp. Serving as a companion to the revised Cooper editions from 1902 to 2012, Vaughn’s study offers biographical studies of W. M. Cooper and other composers and arrangers of songs in those editions, as well as a history of the Sacred Harp Book Company and its predecessors. It represents the latest research on the sources of the words and music of every song in the book. Every Cooper book singer, as well as many other singers, will want to own a copy, for its valuable perspective on the multifaceted phenomenon of Sacred Harp singing.
– Warren Steel, Professor of Music Emeritus, University of Mississippi; author of The Makers of The Sacred Harp

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