"A Music Party"
Frontispiece engraving and
title page from William Billings,
The New England Psalm-Singer.
Music Division (24)
The development of music in the British colonies was closely linked
with Protestant liturgy and its vocal accompaniment. William Billings,
one of the first American-born composers, was an itinerant singing
master who tutored the young of affluent families. He augmented
his teaching wages by selling his own books of musical compositions
for the voice, such as this manual introduced by Paul Revere's illustration
of a music party. Revere's plate is one of the few surviving graphic
representations of people making music in eighteenth-century America.