Jesse Bowman Aikin

Born: 1808

Died: 1900

Birthplace: Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA

Jesse Bowman Aikin was a shape note "singing master", and compiler of the shape note tunebook The Christian Minstrel. He was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania and lived on a farm in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. Aikin, a member of the Church of the Brethren, was the first to successfully produce a song book (The Christian Minstrel) with a seven-shape note system, in 1846. He vigorously defended his "invention" and his patent, which included the elimination of bass and treble clefs and the simplification of time signatures. After the influential Ruebush & Kieffer Publishing Company began using his notehead shapes around 1876 (previously they used Funk's shapes), the Aikin shapes eventually became the prevailing standard in shape note and gospel music publication, although few other compilers adopted his other innovations.

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