Aikin, Jesse B(owman)
- Paul G. Hammond
(b Chester Co., PA, March 5, 1808; d Montgomery Co., PA, 1900). American tune book compiler. He introduced a system of seven-shape notation in The Christian Minstrel (Philadelphia, 1846; for illustration see Shape-note hymnody, ex.2), a tune book containing many pieces found in the publications of Lowell Mason. The book underwent one revision and at least 171 reprintings by 1873 and reportedly sold more than 180,000 copies. Aikin’s notation found widespread acceptance, particularly in the South, and eventually supplanted all other forms of shape-notation. It continues to be used in denominational hymnals and books of the southern gospel-music tradition. His other publications include The Juvenile Minstrel (Philadelphia, 1847), Harmonia ecclesiae, or Companion to the Christian Minstrel (Philadelphia, 1853), The Sabbath-School Minstrel (Philadelphia, 1859), The Imperial Harmony (with Chester G. Allen and Hubert P. Main, New York, 1876), and The True Principles of the Science of Music...