Document Type


Journal Title

Journal of Music History Pedagogy

Publication Date



In music history classes, interactions with musical notation often take place via printed anthologies including material from many sources with varying editorial principles. Questioning how the music on the page got there likely does not cross students minds. They are presented with a polished text, with all the complications removed, that underscores the fixedness of the work concept. This article outlines an exercise that invites students to think like philologists, exploring a familiar and simple piece with a complicated textual situation: the hymntune generally known as ANTIOCH (usually associated with the text Joy to the World) appears widely in hymnbooks and songbooks, but has also been transmitted and varied orally. Using only the written sources, however, students can fairly quickly group sources into families (and outliers), and classify different types of variant readings (substantial, incidental, sporadic). Revealing the complexity beneath the surface instills a healthy skepticism about clean texts.


The definitive article is openly available on the website of The Journal of Music History Pedagogy at:

The Journal of Music History Pedagogy publishes original research on any aspect of the teaching and learning of music history at both the undergraduate and graduate level, for all audiences (majors, non-majors, and the public), and all genres of music

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