This is the second of two volumes published by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts to record the proceedings of a conference on colonial music sponsored by the Society and held in May 1973. For a variety of reasons this one has been delayed much longer than any of those concerned with the book could have wished, but at last it is here, filling in the gap in the Society’s publications that has existed, like a missing tooth, for over four years. The first volume concentrated on music in public places during the colonial period; this one focuses on music in the homes and churches of the Bay State during the same period, closing with an article entitled “Epilogue to Secular Music in Early Massachusetts.” In part because it contains numerous tables and four fact-filled appendices this volume, if anything, goes even further than the first to prove that music played a more important part in the lives of the inhabitants of colonial Massachusetts than had previously been supposed.

    The influence of the late Walter Muir Whitehill, for over thirty years the Editor of Publications for the Society, runs through both these books. It was Walter who first conceived the idea of holding conferences on colonial subjects, and though he was dubious at first about whether or not colonial music was a legitimate theme for a conference, he soon became converted. From then on his concern for the conference and for these volumes ran deep. Also I cannot help thinking how much the Society’s former President, the late Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, would have enjoyed seeing these books in print. A life-long defender of the Puritans against the charge that they were joyless, dour, and bigoted, he would have welcomed this additional support for his thesis.

    To serve as editor of these volumes, the Society was fortunate in obtaining the services of Barbara Lambert, until recently Keeper of Musical Instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Not only did she assume most of the responsibility for the conference itself; she has been indefatigable in preparing these volumes for publication, in many instances going well beyond the normal duties of an editor in searching out and checking material for the various contributors. Those familiar with the first volume are already aware of the distinguished job of book-making that Roderick Stinehour and the Stinehour Press did with that book. We are confident that the craftsmanship of this second volume will be equally admired.

    The publication of these two volumes has been a long and laborious task. All concerned with the project hope that the fresh view of colonial music that they present will more than justify all the work that has gone into them.

    Frederick S. Allis, Jr.

    Editor of Publications

    87 Mount Vernon Street

    Boston, Massachusetts

    October, 1984