Columbus (Southern Harmony, 1835)

Flint Hill
07/27/10 02:18:19PM

"Columbus", based on Job 23, is a spiritual song about the dark night of the soul.

The MP3 is HERE .

The words first appeared in Jesse Mercer's Cluster of Spiritual Songs, etc. in 1810 with no author credited. The tune is almost certainly of folk origin. George Pullen Jackson relates it to "The Virginian Lover", but I can't hear the resemblance. As far as I know, the words and music first appeared together in William Walker's Southern Harmony in 1835.

The mode is Aeolian pentatonic (Bronson 4), omitting the second and sixth scale degrees. It's played here noter-drone-style on a Ben Seymour Galax tuned G C Bb Bb. The high G drone is tuned to D and reverse-capoed on the third fret. The tuning starts a C Aeolian scale on the first fret of the paired melody strings. You can find all the notes on the melody course in any tuning intended for the Aeolian or Dorian modes.

Here's a scan of the original hymnbook page from the Online Southern Harmony site.