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This arrangement of O Thou, Who by a Star is based on the melody of the shape-note hymn, Dunlap's Creek by Freeman Lewis (1780-1859). Little is known about Lewis, except that he was a surveyor from Uniontown, Pennsylvania and wrote music as a hobby. The hymn first appeared in "Southern Harmony," an important shape-note hymnal published in 1835 by William Walker.
The text was written by the Anglican priest, scholar, translator, and hymn writer, John Mason Neale (1818-1866). It is appropriate for Christmas or Epiphany.
After the initial singing of the melody by the basses, each verse is sung in canonic fashion:
Verse II is a two-part canon sung one measure apart.
Verse III is a three-part canon sung one measure apart.
Verse IV is a four-part canon sung in stretto (one beat apart).

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