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Title: Voices in the Pennsylvania Wilderness: An Examination of the Music Manuscripts, Music Theory, Compositions, and (Female) Composers of the Eighteenth-Century Ephrata Cloister
Authors: Herbert, Christopher D.
Keywords: Music
Issue Date: May-2018
Abstract: Founded in 1732 by Conrad Beissel, the Ephrata Cloister was a celibate, ascetic, German-speaking, Sabbatarian commune in the wilderness of Pennsylvania. Its residents produced a large corpus of hymns and motets, and also published the third music treatise written in what is today the United States of America. Because Ephrata produced no heirs, its documents were scattered and its traditions were forgotten over the course of the nineteenth century. Although significant strides have been made in recent years to understand Ephrata’s theology, substantial lacunae remain in the study of its music. This dissertation accomplishes four research tasks associated with Ephrata music. First, it provides a thorough descriptive catalog of all extant available Ephrata music manuscripts. This catalog is the first of its kind in this field, organizing music manuscripts according to their content. Next, the dissertation translates and analyzes the Ephrata music treatise, situating it within the history of music theory. It also examines Ephrata’s unorthodox use of a pedagogical tool for composition known as the règle de l’octave. Third, the study focuses on Ephrata music, discussing its content, style, and practice, proposing that hymns and motets were written in a workshop format, based on a set procedure of group composition. Finally, the dissertation explores the topic of authorship, and demonstrates that Ephrata music manuscripts provide evidence of America’s first female composers.
Description: Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Juilliard School.
Appears in Collections:Music

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