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How Long, Dear Saviour, O How Long

This is a contemporary example of a “fuguing tune,” a Scottish-American psalm tradition from New England.  This choral musical style features four singers “imitating” one another a cappella style.  This tradition has Scottish roots, but flourished in 18th century America. Fuguing tunes in America can dated by to the Scottish Metrical Psalter in the 1630s.

The emotionally charged fugue tunes, like many kinds of Christian music, were not universally approved as proper church music. The style reached fruition by the late 18th century, and had gained in both popularity and criticism by the 19th century. One critic suggested that it had little place in 19th century America, though its unstructured nature had indeed served a strong purpose for the Puritans.


About Shauna Vert

Digital History geek, museum lover, former Smithsonian intern and uOttawa alumni. Tweeting @Shaunanagins, brainwaving at

One response »

  1. Pingback: The Music that Shaped Colonial America

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