Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Samuel Babcock (1760-1813), Archetypal Psalmondist of the First New England School of Composers

Sampsel, Laurie J. (2009) Samuel Babcock (1760-1813), Archetypal Psalmondist of the First New England School of Composers. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (14MB) | Preview


The life, musical activities, compositions, and musical relationships of the Boston-area composer Samuel Babcock (1760-1813) make him an archetypal psalmodist active during the period from 1790 to 1810. Research on early American Protestant sacred music to date has focused on the major composers and compilers of the period such as William Billings and Andrew Law, and on indexing the repertory. This dissertation approaches the topic from a different historiographical perspective, measuring Babcock against the criteria suggested by musicologist Nym Cooke for a composer more typical of the First New England School. Part I of the dissertation establishes the facts of Babcock's life, analyzes and describes his music, and documents the distribution of his works. His fourth cousin, psalmodist Lemuel Babcock (1748-1835), provides a point of comparison. Samuel Babcock, active during the reform of sacred music at the turn of the nineteenth century, composed music strongly influenced by British Methodist-style psalmody. He selected sacred poetry that inspired him musically, and paid careful attention to text setting. Both Babcocks are remembered as singers, singing masters, choir leaders, and composers. However, Samuel Babcock's music is more "modern" than his cousin's. This study of musical style and other evidence suggests that the few pieces first printed with the ambiguous attribution "Babcock" are very likely by Lemuel Babcock. Part II is a critical edition of both composers' complete works.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sampsel, Laurie J.ljs61@pitt.eduLJS61
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoot, Deane Ldlr@pitt.eduDLR
Committee MemberFranklin, Don Odof@pitt.eduDOF
Committee MemberKroeger, Karl
Committee MemberLewis, Mary Slsm@pitt.eduLSM
Date: 30 September 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 13 February 2009
Approval Date: 30 September 2009
Submission Date: 23 July 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: American music; early nineteenth century; First New England School; historical musicology; late eighteenth century; Samuel Babcock; Lemuel Babcock; psalmody; editing
Other ID:, etd-07232009-081422
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:53
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:46


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item