1780-1857

February 2, 1780, Shenandoah County, Virginia.

October 21, 1857, Rockingham County, Virginia.

Cross Keys Cemetery, Rockingham County, Virginia.

Davisson was a printer in Rockingham County, Virginia. He is best known for his Kentucky Harmony (Harrisonburg, Virginia: 1816), generally considered the first Southern shape-note tune book. Composer and publisher William B. Blake said it was a book characteristic of that period, abounding in minor tunes. Musicologist George Pullen Jackson said Davisson’s compilations were pioneer repositories of a sort of song that the rural South really liked. Perhaps his best-known tune is Idumea, a minor tune very popular in Southern shape note circles, and featured in the movie Cold Mountain.

Davisson’s other works include:

  1. Bethel
  2. Golden Hill
  3. Idumea
  4. Morning Song
  5. New Hope
  6. Solemnity

where to get a picture of Davisson