Newbury-Port [MA]: Printed and Sold by Daniel Bayley, at his House next Dorr to St. Paul's Church, 1771. Full leather, front board lacking. The Seventh Edition, with Additions. Oblong 8vo. 13 x 21 cm. Two volumes bound together. Vol. I: 5, (1), 1-10, 2, 7-96 [lacking two leaves (pp.3-6) of music]; Vol. II, with separate title page: (4), 1-94 pp. [one leaf, (pp.89-90), detached and chipped, with some loss; one leaf (pp.91-2) detached; final leaf (pp. 95-6) lacking]. Ink name of David F. Prentice Woodbury, Connecticut, in the margin of one page. Item #65147
William Tans'ur (1706-1783) was an Englishman. Born William Tanser, he occasionally called himself William le Tansur, before settling on the spelling used here. According to Russell Sanjek in his book "American Popular Music and Its Business. The First Four Hundred Years," (NY: 1988), Tans'ur was "the most reprinted British anthem writer to appear in late-eighteenth-century New England collections, as well as a singularly unrecognized contributor to American white gospel music." The printer of this edition, Daniel Bayley, is credited with making "the first American-published sacred tunebook to establish the composer as a tangible presence. With William Tans'ur before them as a model, Americans began to publish compositions of their own." [see: Britton & Lowens, "American Sacred Music Imprints, 1698-1810: A Bibliography," (AAS: 1990), p. 9]. The Boston reprint of his "Royal Melody Complete" was used as an instruction book by William Billings, considered America's first true songwriter. Combined with Aaron Williams' "Universal Psalmody," both titles were often pirated and reprinted.