Home > Solo instrument > When I Survey the Wondrous Cross - Lent / Easter / Communion Hymn Piano Solo

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross - Lent / Easter / Communion Hymn Piano Solo

Lowell Mason, 1824
Year of arrangement
Isaac Watts, published 1707
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
4 minutes
Solo instrument (Piano)
Instrumental parts
Not available

This arrangement is a transcription of my 2011 recording of "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (hymn tune "Hamburg"). My performance of this arrangement is available on youtube at https://youtu.be/szQze2UJCeo, or visit my youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/dayzzzed, for this and other songs.

The arrangement is designed around a repeated I - iv motif, with small variations of the chords (sus 2, dim 7, etc.) and gradually-increased prevalence of bass notes building tension and drama throughout the first three verses. The final verse releases the tension by switching to a much more powerful chord pattern and very low bass to match the lyrical content, changing with the lyrics from a feeling of wonder to a full realization of human inadequacy, finally returning to a gentle conclusion.

The mp3 demo should give you lots of ideas for execution. The lowest bass notes in verse 4 may be difficult to sight-read, but they are all octave jumps and match the chord symbols. If this proves too difficult to execute, or if the very low strings on your instrument are not in good tune, the arrangement is still effective with the lowest notes played up an octave.

I hope you enjoy playing it!

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