Recently, I’ve been reading a bit in William Billings’s The Suffolk Harmony. I got interested in The Suffolk Harmony because Billings uses quite a few texts by the eighteenth century theologian James Relly — Relly is not an obvious choice because he held to the doctrine of universal salvation, something that was not aligned with the typical theological stance of the people who were writing and singing music for and in the late eighteenth century singing schools.
Theology aside, I’m finding that some of the tunes are really quite enjoyable. Tonight during our monthly Other Book singing in Berkeley, I presented my transcription of “Madrid” by Billings. The singers seemed to like it pretty well. It was relatively easy to sightread, and it was great fun to sing — at least it was great fun for me to sing the bass part, although the other parts seemed to enjoy singing the tune as well.
N.B.: I did careful proofreading, and while I believe there are no typographical errors, I would appreciate hearing from you if you find an error in transcription.