This hymn is so ubiquitous as to possibly be the most recognizable piece of Christian music ever. A simple pentatonic tune in common meter carries a weighty lyric that marvels at the grace of a loving God to people who deserve only His wrath.
The choir begins with ooo-ing for two stanzas, providing a rich backdrop for the baritone soloist. The third stanza features the choir alone at a somewhat faster tempo.
The fourth stanza stays at the faster tempo, and has the baritone accompanied by a rhythmic figure in the choir.
The final stanza has the choir taking the lead with the baritone signing a descant. A surprise ending leads to a triple Alleluia! to finish the piece strong.
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Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved 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 relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
As long as life endures.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come.
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
--- John Newton
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.
--- John P. Rees
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
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MP3 sound sample: midi/synthesizer
This video is of the SATB version from which this version is derived.
AMAZING GRACE, an American melody with lyrics by John Newton and John P. Rees, arranged by Tom Kirkland for baritone solo with unaccompanied TTTB choir, comes in a pdf file of 184K, with a nine-page score and a license page, ten pages in all. Performance time should be about four minutes.
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Last update: 4 March 2021