4 volumes

For nineteenth- and twentieth-century Christians, "revival" meant the spontaneous and inexplicable work of the Holy Spirit, but was sometimes extended to mean a series of protracted meetings for spiritual renewal. Musical practices associated with revivals were correspondingly broad. The “revival chorus”—a short, memorable refrain suitable for singing on its own or interspersed with the lines of a hymn—takes its name from these popular gatherings. Yet elaborate hymnody was also part of the revival experience, especially lengthy narrative or testimonial songs. Numerous sources of music considered suitable for revivals appeared during the nineteenth century. Small, words-only songsters, for example, were easy and inexpensive for a job printer to produce as needed for local churches. Some repertoire was specific to revivals and circulated orally, although many congregations drew from their standard materials at protracted meetings. When mass evangelism broke out in urban centers in the late nineteenth century, missionary meetings were frequently referred to as “revivals.” Most professional evangelists partnered with a musician who also served as song leader, such as the successful partnership between Billy Sunday (1862–1935) and Homer Rodeheaver (1880–1955). Alone or in a mass meeting, quietly or with great exuberance, the full spectrum of sacred music might be heard in a season or posture of revival. Collections of songs meant for revival purposes vary stylistically, and are often revelatory of the compilers’ or publishers’ understanding of this contested term.

—Erin Fulton

Polished Pearls

  • Author: T. J. Shelton and J. H. Rosecrans
  • Published: 1876
  • Publisher: Fillmore Brothers
  • Publication City: Cincinnati, Ohio; compiled in Arcola, Illinois
  • Added: Jan. 28, 2020, 4:46 p.m.

Song Evangel

  • Author: William H. Doane
  • Published: 1883
  • Publisher: W. P. Harvey
  • Publication City: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Added: April 28, 2020, 4:59 p.m.

The Eureka Echoes

  • Author: Faculty of the Eureka Normal School of Music
  • Published: 1903
  • Publisher: Eureka Publishing Company
  • Publication City: South McAlester, Indian Territory (Oklahoma)
  • Added: April 25, 2020, 5:27 p.m.

Wide Awake Songs

  • Author: George W. Willis
  • Published: 1892
  • Publisher: Evangelical Association Publishing House
  • Publication City: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Added: April 27, 2020, 4:44 p.m.