As hymnsongs go, Amazing Grace is one of the most recognized of all traditional Christian hymns. It has been used in many ways over the last two hundred years since its composition in 1772 by John Newton, a former slave trader who had converted to Christianity. It has always been seen as a somber, Christian hymnsong with strong references to human rights and freedom.
Recently the history of the song Amazing Grace was used as the basis for a screenplay of the same title, released in February of 2007, and is a very moving story of legal battle against the European slave trade in the 1800's. The Amazing Grace movie is to be released in late 2007 on VHS and DVD.
For more information on the story behind this song there are several authoritative essays provided by the United States Library of Congress. The first, "The Creation of Amazing Grace," tells of the story surrounding the composition of the song by John Newton. The second, "The Dissemination of Amazing Grace," chronicles the spread of the song from its birth in London to its current world-wide recognition. A third essay, "Amazing Grace and Shape Note Singing" gives an interesting look at the music notation practices that were common in the 1800's and how Amazing Grace changed them.
The sheet music available here at MusicEdMagic.com is of the main melody only, arranged in a key that is easy to play on all common concert band instruments.
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Any arrangements written by Chad Criswell and MusicEdMagic.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. There is no charge for these materials, but educational institutions that use them in their classrooms are asked to provide a link either in their printed concert programs or on their school web site linking to MusicEdMagic.com.
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!
Throe many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come;'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised 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 called me here below, Will be forever mine.
For more detailed information about this song consider visiting the Amazing Grace page at Wikipedia .
Chad Criswell is a career music educator working in the Iowa public schools. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications both online and in print. He currently serves as the national music technology writer for NAfME's Teaching Music Magazine and has presented sessions at numerous music education conferences including the 2012 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.
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