Music of the Ephrata Cloister

Music from the Ephrata Cloister

The Ephrata Cloister or Ephrata Community was a mystical, communal religious community made up of both men and women members. It was established in 1732 by Johann Conrad Beissel at Ephrata, in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The colony was very self-sufficient. It had orchards, gardens, grain-fields, the resources to manufacture clothing from flax, plus a saw-mill, gristmill, paper-mill, and printing press. A number of artisans were very skilled in crafts such as Clock Making and decorative writing termed Fraktur.

Beissel taught music at the Cloister and wrote hundreds of songs and choral works. The music of the Ephrata choir has been described as “sacred” and “alchemical.” Many of the other members of the cloister also devoted themselves to poetry and music and art. Their choir became widely known in early America for their ethereal and unique music, created in a musical notation system created by Beisell.

The Ephrata community was directly connected with some of the Founding Fathers, especially Benjamin Franklin, and founded one of the early printing facilities in Pennsylvania. The printing of the Declaration of Independence was done on an Ephrata press.


The Music Of The Ephrata Cloister

We have prepared 3 arrangements using melodies (and harmony) from Ephrata hymns. The pieces are arranged with basic guitar parts/chords, piano (or harp) and bass accompaniment.

The original music pieces were for the Ephrata choir, but, since most folks don't have access to a choir..... we created these simple arrangements so musicans can work with these melodies, and as the basis for creating their own instrumental versions of some of Ephrata melodies.

The melodies and harmonies used in these pieces were taken from "Music of the Ephrata Cloister" by Julius Friedrich Sachse published in 1903.

PDF files with the notation of the three pieces can be ordered below.
Included in the download is a PDF file with scans of an original 16 page 19th Century periodical article about the Cloister containing many engravings.

The unique music notation style used at Ephrata does not usually use a standard time signature (or tempo indication) and measures are often developed by needed phrasing rather than a standard time signature. This produces a very unique melodic style.

You can listen to an MP3 sample of one of these arrangements.

The piece passes through the melody and accompaniment twice... first with the solo melody and accompaniment, the second with the basic melody and a harmony part (from the original Ephrata hymn) along with the accompaniment.

Music Of The Ephrata Cloister - $4.00

This collection of PDFs is downloaded as a "zip" file. Zip files can be open and extracted on almost all systems.

You will be sent the download link by email immediately after your payment is processed.

If you have any questions about this collection,
contact us by e-mail.


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