The Harmonicon

The Harmonicon. A selection of church music compiled and published by James Dawson (bookseller and newspaper publisher and father of Sir William Dawson) in Pictou, NS, in 1838.

The Harmonicon

The Harmonicon. A selection of church music compiled and published by James Dawson (bookseller and newspaper publisher and father of Sir William Dawson) in Pictou, NS, in 1838. Dawson first announced his intention to publish such a work and advertised for subscribers in 1831 but he seems to have been unsuccessful. His next advertisements appeared in 1835 and stated that he would publish a work of approximately 250 pages rather than the previously advertised 350. Dawson imported music type and had the assistance of his son, William, as well as James Hepburn of Pictou and Charles Robson of Halifax in printing the work. The first edition, in 'longboy' format, appeared in 1838. It contains over 200 tunes, many of them fuguing tunes of US or British origin. The advertisement that appeared in Dawson's newspaper The Bee included music notation from the volume. A second edition appeared in 1841, adding an 'Introduction to Vocal Music,' and an enlarged third edition in 1849 (some copies marked third edition have the date 1850 or 1855). Eleven tunes from the 1841 edition have been reprinted in CMH, vol 5.