William Walker's published The Christian Harmony in 1866. It contained many of the songs from his highly popular shape note tune book The Southern Harmony, but was typeset in seven shapes using three shapes of his own making (doe, ray, and see, along with faw, sol, law, and mee used in four shape books). He published a second edition of The Christian Harmony in 1873, adding approximately 50 songs to the first edition. This second edition was reprinted as late as 1901. Books used in the 1950's were predominately from the 1901 printing of the second edition, and were scarce and in poor condition by the mid-twentieth century. There was also a 1901 revision printed (Walker died in 1875) that removed many old favorites; apparently this revision never became popular.
In 1958, John Deason and O.A. Parris of Alabama published a revision of The Christian Harmony that removed less-used songs, and added new music and popular songs from that time. They used Jesse Aikin's seven shapes rather than Walker's shapes. This book was used in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and other states, including North Carolina. Additional printings were made in 1994 and 2002, with minor changes.
In 1979, 1994, and 2002, reprints were made of the 1873 second edition. These were primarily used in western North Carolina, where both books were often carried to singings.
The 2010 Edition of The Christian Harmony combines William Walker's 1873 revision with the Deason-Parris revision. The 2010 Edition contains all songs from the 2002 printing of the Deason-Parris revision first, and mostly in their original order, and adds the one song dropped from the 1958 edition. All 202 songs removed from Walker's 1873 revision follow, again mostly in the order they appeared. A few songs from living authors and The Drone are included at the end. A total of 672 songs are presented, all using Jesse Aikin's shape notes. The entire book, including all songs and the Rudiments, has been newly typeset.
The 2010 Edition was re-printed in 2016. In this printing, minor errors in music were corrected, small improvements made, and poet and composer attributions were corrected and added for all songs.
Corrections That Affect Singing
Corrections and Improvements That Don't Affect Singing
List of Poets and Composers, Sorted by Song Number