These eight preludes are based on authentic old hymn-tunes found in the 1902 edition of THE SACRED HARP, a collection of spirituals and Southern folk hymns, first published around 1850. According to the then prevailing custom, the melody was always assigned to the tenor voice, the other parts serving as support or embellishment. The hymn-tunes are essentially modal, with the lowered seventh of the scale the most characteristic feature. In these settings Gardner Read tried to preserve the quaintness and somewhat primitive quality of the original hymn-tunes, which are given in full before each prelude. An H.W. Gray Publication.