This heavily Academic work opens with the thesis that vocal and even instrumental music was far more familiar or Colonial experience than is commonly supposed. The Pilgrims' religion actually required the singing of psalms, and solfeggio instruction was a matter of some concern to them. Even among the Puritans ""music was fine in its place."" Lowens has studied the Bay Psalm Book and the Whole Book of Psalms, John Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music, and many other compendia of tunes for secular as well as religious purpose. He discusses the first textbooks and the first copyrights of American music, the shape-note method of teaching, Southern folk-hymnody, the mystery of the origins of Yankee Doodle, and the careers of such notables as Andrew Law, Benjamin Carr, Daniel Read, the Edsons, James Hewitt, A.P. Heinrich (called ""the Beethoven of America"" by critics of his day), and Louis Moreau Gottschalk, one of America's first true virtuosi. A section entitled Miscellanea cover fugue unes, American transcendentalism after 1835, music and democracy after 1830, the Warrington collection, and other matters. The scholarly appendices include one that is a good quick guide to important early American music periodicals.