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Wondrous Love

LOWER INTERMEDIATE, ALL HARPS.  A modal hymn from the shape note (sacred harp) singing which dates back to colonial New England churches.

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A modal hymn from the shape-note (sacred harp) singing which dates back to colonial New England churches. Includes three variations, with fingerings and no lever changes.

Many folk songs have various incarnations over the years and around the world. The hymn Wondrous Love first appeared in America in 1835 in William Walker’s Southern Harmony, with religious lyrics written by Reverend Alexander Means. The tune had traditionally been used for a ballad about “Captain Kidd,” a notorious pirate who was executed in England in 1701. (You can find these very secular lyrics on the inside back cover of this sheet music.) When it appeared as Wondrous Love, this modal tune was harmonized in the style of the shape-note (also called “Sacred Harp”) singing that was popular in churches of New England. The parallel fourths and fifths and the modal scale make it hauntingly beautiful. The first verse of my arrangement here is very close to this traditional harmony.

LOWER INTERMEDIATE, ALL HARPS.

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