Allen Dickenson Carden

Allen D. Carden was a singing-school teacher and compiler of tunebooks using four-shape notation. He compiled and published The Missouri Harmony (St. Louis, 1820, though printed in Cincinnati), probably the most widely used tunebook in the southern and western United States until William Walker published The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion in 1835. Although Carden had no further connection with The Missouri Harmony, nine later editions with numerous reprints were published by others through 1857.

Shortly after the publication of The Missouri Harmony Carden returned to Nashville, where he taught singing schools and published and printed two other tunebooks, The Western Harmony (1824 with S. J. Rogers, F. Moore, and J. Green) and United States Harmony (1829). Neither of these books achieved the success of his earlier effort. There is no record of a second edition for either book. However, all of Carden's tunebooks are significant because of his stated purpose to provide music for church services. Tunebooks of this period were typically not used in regular church services but were intended for use in singing societies or schools. The Western Harmony also is uniquely significant in that it was the first music published with a Nashville imprint.

During the last twenty-five years of his life Carden acquired substantial landholdings in several counties in Middle and West Tennessee, but whether he maintained his involvement in musical matters after the publication of his final tunebook is unknown.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Allen Dickenson Carden
  • Author
  • Website Name Tennessee Encyclopedia
  • URL
  • Access Date July 13, 2024
  • Publisher Tennessee Historical Society
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2018