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Lyon, James

Lyon, James

Lyon, James, American preacher, composer, and tunebook compiler; b. Newark, N.J., July 1, 1735; d. Machias, Maine, Oct. 12, 1794. He graduated from the Coll. of N.J. in Princeton on Sept. 26, 1759, at which ceremony an ode by him was performed. In 1762 he was awarded his M.A. at Princeton and received his preaching license from the Presbyterian Synod of New Brunswick, N.J. After serving a pastorate in Nova Scotia (1764–72), he was a pastor in Machias, Maine (1772–73; 1774–83; 1785–94). He also was an ardent supporter of the cause of American independence. Lyon compiled the important tunebook Urania, or A Choice Collection of Psalm-Tunes, Anthems, and Hymns (Philadelphia, 1761). It was the first such tunebook in America to include English anthems and fuging tunes, the first to identify native works, and the first to print pieces by Lyon and Hopkinson.


O. Sonneck, Francis Hopkinson, the First American Poet-composer (1737–1791) and J. L., Patriot, Preacher, Psalmodist (1735–1794): Two Studies in Early American Music (Washington, D.C, 1905).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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