Singing Sedition


Piety and Politics in the Music of William Billings

December 15, 2016



SKU: 9378-1-57647-347-4-1-1-1-3-1-1-5-1-1-6-4-1-1 Categories: ,


Alongside well-known patriots, such as Samuel Adams, Rev. Samuel Cooper, and Dr. Joseph Warren, there was another пїЅvoiceпїЅ whose words and music became the protest songs of the American Revolution. William Billings, tanner, hogreeve, and musician, through his compositions, singing schools, and incendiary performances provided ways for the пїЅmechanicksпїЅ of the lower classes, including women, to be equal participants in disseminating rebellion throughout colonial New England. In Singing Sedition, Charles E. Brewer provides a thick cultural interpretation of the significance of BillingsпїЅs texts and music through the use of both published and unpublished manuscript materials. An examination of sermons preached in Boston, Biblical commentaries, letters, diaries, and other sources clarifies the New England political theology expressed through BillingsпїЅs creative adaptations of biblical texts and their evocative musical settings. From the Boston Massacre to the peace of 1783, BillingsпїЅs music can be heard as the soundtrack of the American Revolution.


Marianne Betz:


A flutist and musicologist, is full Professor of Musicology at the пїЅHochschule fuer Musik und Theater пїЅFelix Mendelssohn BartholdyпїЅ Leipzig since 1993. She studied with Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht (University of Freiburg) and Ludwig Finscher (University of Heidelberg), and did her PhD. in 1991. Working on American music, with a special focus on the generation of George W. Chadwick, she is active as researcher, editor and author. She was in charge of the entries on American composers of the 19th century for the second edition of MGG (Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart). Besides that she wrote articles for the HandwoerпїЅterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie, and published in Archiv fuer Musikwissenschaft, Die Musikforschung, Musical Quarterly, Zibaldone, and the Yearbook of the American Music Research Centre, Boulder/Colorado. She is the editor of ChadwickпїЅs five string quartets (A-R editions) and of the first publishing of his only opera The Padrone (MUSA).