Amazing Grace

This is a hymn about God's mercy and forgiveness, ie grace.

Most of the words were written by evangelical Anglican priest John Newton (1725-1807):   There is also a well-known 7th verse, author unknown, which is included in the slides below.

With Common Meter (CM):
  • It is  usually sung to the tune NEW BRITAIN, which may or may not have been composed by American composer and music-master Lucius Chapin (1760-1842) - ref.   
  • It can be set to many different tunes:  the combination with "House of the Rising Sun" is one example, used by some as a warning to ensure that tune and lyrics combinations are appropriate - and by others as a serious piece of church-music.

Although Newton was English, this work was published most widely in America and many people believe it to be an American hymn.  The matching of the text with the tune NEW BRITTAIN has a long a complicated history - as described in Wikipedia.

A feature, which many people don't notice until they find themselves in a congregation that seems to briefly "get it wrong" is that there are variations of the tune.  A common one is in the use of triplets in various places and a slight change in the melody in the 3rd line. In the sheet music below, these are described as the:
  • "US variation" - with triplets and higher setting in 3rd line
  • "Irish variation" - with triplets and lower setting in 3rd line
  • "UK variation" - no triplets and lower setting in 3rd line

These options aren't definitive, and aren't strictly used in the ways listed.    But they do give some idea of approaches often used in each country.  Experienced musicians generally don't have difficulty with this and usually instinctively play the tune that their congregation knows. But beginners, and people new to playing in church situations, can find it confusing, which is why some of the options are laid out here.


This section may contain affiliate links: I earn from qualifying purchases on these. Free downloads are provided where possible (eg for public domain items).


Folk-choir with guitar, recorded live in a church service:

Choir and congregation, with piano:

Professional singer with massed choir, unaccompanied:

Professional recording - concert-style performance with bagpipes and orchestra

Soloist with organ accompaniment in a church setting - set to the HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN tune


Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ'd!

Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

ABC Notation

T:Amazing Grace
T:NEW BRITAIN - US variation
C/2F/2 |"F"F2 (3A/2G/2F/2|A2G|"Bb"F2D|"F"C2 C/2F/2|
w:1~~~A_maz-ing__ grace, how sweet the sound that_
w:2~~~Twas_ grace that__ taught my heart to fear, and
w:3~~~Thro'_ ma-ny__ dan-gers, toils, and snares, I
w:4~~~The_ Lord has__ prom-is'd good to me, His
w:5~~~Yes,_ when this__ flesh and heart shall fail, and
w:6~~~The_ earth shall__ soon dis-solve like snow, the
w:7~~~When_ we’ve been__ there ten thou-sand years, bright
F2 (3A/2G/2F/2|"Dm"A2 (G/2A/2)|"C"c3-|c2 (F/2A/2) |
w:1~~~saved a__ wretch like_ me._ I_
w:2~~~grace my__ fears re_liev'd;_ How
w:3~~~have al__rea-dy_ come;_ 'Tis
w:4~~~word my__ hope se_cures;_ He
w:5~~~mor-tal__ life shall_ cease;_ I
w:6~~~sun for__bear to_ shine;_ But
w:7~~~shin-ing__ as the_ sun,_ we’ve
"F" (c>A) (c/2A/2) |F2C|"Bb"D2 (3F/2F/2D/2 |"F"C2 C/2F/2|
w:1~~~once was__ lost but now I'm__ found, was_
w:2~~~pre-cious__ did that grace ap__pear, the
w:3~~~grace hath__ brought me safe thus__ far, and
w:4~~~will my__ shield and por-tion__ be, as
w:5~~~shall po__ssess, with-in the__ veil, a
w:6~~~God, who__ call'd me here be__low, will
w:7~~~no less__ days to sing God’s__ praise than
F2 (3A/2G/2F/2|"C"A2G|"F"F3|-F2]
w:1~~~blind but__ now I see._
w:2~~~hour I__ first be-liev'd!
w:3~~~grace will__ lead me home.
w:4~~~long as__ life en-dures.
w:5~~~life of__ joy and peace.
w:6~~~be for__ev-er mine.
w:7~~~when we’d__ first be-gun.

See more ...

No comments:

Post a Comment