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Early 20th Century Masonic Recordings


A number of Masonic records were manufactured by Thomas A. Edison, Inc. on disc and cylinder format in the first three decades of the 20th Century. They were undoubtably meant to be played on phonographs by Lodges that could not furnish live music for degree work. These recordings are a treasure from an earlier time.

Masonic Edison Diamond Disc Record No. 50220

Entered Apprentice Degree Label - Side "R"

Entered Apprentice Degree Label - Side "L"


The disc record shown above was recorded on October 3, 1914 in the Edison studios in New York City. It is unusual for an early record in that it has two tracks on each side, similar to a modern LP record. (How many of you remember LPs?!)

You can listen to each track of this Entered Apprentice Degree record in MP3 format by clicking on the links below:


Reception Anthem - In Heavenly Love Abiding

Words:

In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear. And safe in such confiding, for nothing changes here. The storm may roar without me, my heart may low be laid, but God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?

Green pastures are before me, which yet I have not seen. Bright skies will soon be over me, where darkest clouds have been. My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free. My Father has my treasure, and He will walk with me.


Preambulation - Behold How Good And How Pleasant

Words:

Behold, behold how good, how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together, together in unity! It is like the precious ointment, the ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts, the skirts of his garments! As the dew, as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that decended upon the mountains, the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord commanded, for there the Lord commanded, the blessing, even life for evermore.


Obligation - So Help Us God

Words:

So help us God, and make us steadfast, to keep this solemn vow.


Light - In The Beginning

Words:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void. And darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirt of God moved upon the face of the water. And God said, "Let there be light!," and there was light!


The following recordings were produced on Edison's celluloid Blue Amberol cylinder records. Edison invented the cylinder record format in the 19th Century. Remarkably, he continued cylinder records until 1929! Like the disc above, the recordings below made acoustically.


The Masonic cylinder record above was recorded in November of 1909.

You can listen to Masonic cylinder records in MP3 format by clicking on the links below:

 

No. 1953, Master Mason Degree Dirge, Masonic Hymn

Words:

 

Solemn strikes the funeral chime. Notes of our departing time, As we journey here below Through a pilgrimage of woe.

Mortals now indulge a tear; For mortality is here! See how wide her trophies wave O'er the slumbers of the grave.

Here another guest we bring; Seraph of Celestial wing, To our funeral altar come, Waft this friend and brother home.

Lord of all! below - above- Fill our hearts with truth and love; When dissolves our earthly tie, Take us to Thy Lodge on High.

 

No. 1960, Boston Commandery March

 

This march was recorded in February, 1912 by the Edison Concert Band. The music was written by Thomas M. Carter in 1892 for the Boston Commandery of the Knights Templar, the oldest Commandery in continuous existence in America.


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