Judgment Anthem

I completed a new, ten page shapenote edition of Justin Morgan’s JUDGMENT ANTHEM, available for download here. It’s a real choral showpiece, with multiple key changes and solo sections.

Asahel Benham published JUDGMENT ANTHEM in his Federal Harmony in 1790.  It was the first anthem ever published in shapes, appearing in the first shapenote book, Little and Smith’s Easy Instructor (1801). It continued to be popular among shapenote publishers, including Ananias Davisson and his contemporaries. JUDGMENT ANTHEM appeared in Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second (1813), Davisson’s Kentucky Harmony (1816), Carden’s Missouri Harmony (1820), Moore’s Columbian Harmony (1825), Hauser’s Hesperian Harp, and several other books.

Whether by accident or design, Little and Smith changed the anthem in several significant ways, and these changes were copied in all the subsequent shapenote printings that I’ve seen.  In addition to my goal of producing a modern typeset version on a minimal number of pages (10), I also aimed to restore the original 1790 version of the piece as best as possible, with the addition of shaped notes and one key change (at the demand of shapenote singers).  I’ve listed my editorial changes on the last page.

I compiled the pocket version in 2023. Surely, it’s the cutest little anthem you ever saw! You can either print and assemble the little book yourself, or you can use the pocket e-version on a phone or tablet.

Judgment Anthem, ten page edition for letter paper

Judgment Anthem, pocket e-dition for phones You could also print this on letter paper for a very large print version!

Judgment Anthem, cut-and-fold pocket edition  Print, cut, fold, and sew. To assemble, print double-sided at 100% on letter paper. Cut the paper in half lengthwise and fold to form oblong pages. Assemble the pages in order. Print a cover (or two) on cardstock if you like. If you have a long-reach stapler, you can staple down the spine; otherwise, make holes along the spine and use a saddle stitch to attach it together.

My friends Becky, Leland, Cheri, and Ivy in Northampton recorded JUDGMENT ANTHEM! You can hear and download it from Soundcloud.

To get a sense of the JUDGMENT ANTHEM in popular culture, read this selection from Gerald Stanley Lee’s Mount Tom: An All Outdoors Magazine, 1906.  (This whole essay is a satirical account of the “wars” over church music at the time–definitely worth a read!)