Samuel Holyoke

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Born: 15 October 1762, Boxford, Massachusetts

Died: 7 February 1820, Concord, New Hampshire

Biography Samuel Holyoke was an American composer and teacher of vocal and instrumental music. He was a Congregationalist and a Mason, and never married. After preparatory training at Phillips Academy, Andover, Holyoke matriculated at Harvard College in 1786. The source of his musical training is unknown, but he was composing music before he graduated from Harvard in 1789; in June of that year, a newspaper announcement of his proposed book, Harmonia Americana was said to be endorsed by the Singing Club of Harvard. A prolific composer, he composed some 700 pieces, including psalm tunes and anthems and occasional pieces, some with instrumental accompaniment. In three of his largest works, many compositions are not attributed, although they are "thought to be his" (Eskew and Kroeger 1998). In his compositions, "he aligned himself with the forces of musical reform" (Britton and others 1990).

In 1793, Holyoke helped to found Groton Academy (now called Lawrence Academy) in Groton, Massachusetts, where he served as the first headmaster.

View the Wikipedia article on Samuel Holyoke.

List of choral works


1. Psalm-Tunes

2. Anthems

3. Set pieces

4. Secular Songs



Click here to search for this composer on CPDL


  • Holyoke, Samuel. 1791. Harmonia Americana. Boston, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews. 120 pp.
  • Holyoke, Samuel. 1800. Hark! from the Tombs, etc., and Beneath the Honors, etc. … for the Memory of our Beloved Washington. Exeter, New Hampshire: Henry Ranlet. 12 pp.
  • Holyoke, Samuel, 1803. The Columbian Repository of Sacred Harmony. Exeter, New Hampshire: Henry Ranlet. 472 pp.
  • Holyoke, Samuel. 1804. The Christian Harmonist. Salem, Massachusetts: Joshua Cushing. 199 pp.
  • Holyoke, Samuel. 1807. The Vocal Companion. Exeter, New Hampshire: Norris and Sawyer. 176 pp.

External links

Scans of books by Samuel Holyoke at IMSLP


  • Anonymous. 1802. The Essex Harmony, Part II. Salem: Joshua Cushing. 99 pp.
  • Britton, Allen P.; Irving Lowens; and Richard Crawford. 1990. American Sacred Music Imprints 1698-1810: A Bibiography. Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society. 798 pp.
  • Eskew, Harry; and Karl Kroeger. 1998. Samuel Holyoke (1762-1820) and Jacob Kimball (1761-1826): Selected Works. New York, New York: Garland. 256 pp.
  • Gram, Hans; Samuel Holyoke; and Oliver Holden. 1795. The Massachusetts Compiler of Theoretical and Practical Elements of Sacred Vocal Music. Boston: Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews. 71 pp.
  • Mann, Elias, Compiler. The Northampton Collection of Sacred Harmony. Northampton: Daniel Wright. 139 pp.
  • Ranlet, Henry, Compiler. 1796. The Village Harmony, or Youth’s Assistant to Sacred Music, Second Edition. Exeter: Henry Ranlet. 187 pp.
  • Ranlet, Henry, Compiler. 1797. The Village Harmony, or Youth’s Assistant to Sacred Music, Third Edition. Exeter: Henry Ranlet. 197 pp.
  • Steel, David Warren; and Richard H. Hulan. 2010. The Makers of The Sacred Harp. Urbana, Illinois. University of Illinois. 322 pp.