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Thread: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    I've joined an acoustic gospel jam group and have gone to a couple of gatherings, making note of the songs being played. Many songs I don't know and am having trouble finding chord charts - or standard notation - for them. Suggestions for finding either or both in this genre?

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    What about asking some members of the group, Sherry? They might well have all the music the group plays, or at least they might have the lyrics with chords added. You say you have been to a couple of gatherings now, so will know who is or is not approachable to ask.
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kelly View Post
    What about asking some members of the group, Sherry? They might well have all the music the group plays, or at least they might have the lyrics with chords added. You say you have been to a couple of gatherings now, so will know who is or is not approachable to ask.
    Good idea. Thanks, John!

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Aside from hymnals that may be available from a library, there are gospel fakebooks.
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Aside from hymnals that may be available from a library, there are gospel fakebooks.
    I have several hymnals. No chords, though. I like the fakebook suggestion.

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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    A possibility; blurb says it includes "over 50 gospel tunes."
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    A possibility; blurb says it includes "over 50 gospel tunes."
    That one looks good. I looked at several today, but didn't have the time to narrow them down. Too bad there aren't (are there?) books with music that matches an individual's voice range. That's a problem I have with Parking Lot Picker's Songbook. Musicnotes.com, where it does have multiple keys for a piece, is a solution, but doesn't always have what I'm looking for.

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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Thinking about jam sessions, which is your question in this thread too, here is an important exercise for the necessary skills.

    Pull up the web site that Hank linked above, and pull up the sheet music for Amazing Grace. It's one of the simplest songs on the list, one I'm sure you know, one I'm sure they play at the jam session.

    Go to youtube and find several versions of the song played in the key of G. Trust your ears and whatever else you've learned to determine that it is in G. Slow each one down to half speed using the youtube built-in speed adjuster. Play along using the chords from the sheet music you have. Trust your ears to determine if those chords sound good or not. Try singing the song while playing those chords. See if they sound right.

    If you find that those chords don't sound right, then you will likely find at the jam session that no one else thinks they sound right.

    Here's a hint. Almost everybody plays Amazing Grace as a I IV V chord progression or they add the vi toward the end. I'll be surprised if you find any recorded version using the chord progression in that print-out. Even less likely will be folks at a jam session that want it to be that complicated.

    Finally, use your ear to find a youtube version in a key that fits your voice. D is the more standard key for that song. Slow it down and work out your way to play it.
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Perfect!

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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Classic country and Cowboy lyrics are two sites that have a wealth of gospel chord sheets. I’ve found everything from “Dropkick Me Jesus” to traditional stuff like “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” and of course, plenty of bluegrass gospel. No standard notation, but I’m not generally memorizing solos at this point or playing directly from sheet music at a jam. I just need the lyrics and am confirming the chord changes. The melody I’m playing by ear and embellishing it.You want to get away from the paper as soon as you can.

    BTW, Sherry, I think you and I may be in a similar place (adv. beg-early interm). I’ve just started to go to regular bg and gospel jams and here is my game plan which is working for me. Unlike the jam you go to, absolutely no on uses music sheets at any of the multiple jams I go to, save one monthly “slow” jam. So, I started with a handful (3-5) of songs that I already knew the lyrics and melody VERY well I just maybe had to work on a verse or so that wasn’t as familiar (sometimes church skips some later verses). I check out the chord sheet and diagram it up like this:
    1 1 1 1
    4 4 1 1
    1 1 1 1
    1 5 1 1
    This way, I can see where the song is going. One glance and you can get it in your head and stop looking at the sheet. Then, I noodle along with a Youtube video (slowing it down a little if I need to) until I get comfortable finding the melody. Lastly, I figure out what key I want to sing in and put that chord progression into Strum Machine and sing and play along (starting slower and working up to speed).

    Periodically, I add a song when I’m ready but keep fresh on the old ones. Before you know it, you have a workable little repertoire for jamming with no sheet music. This has worked well for me for the songs that I want to lead. For songs I’m just playing along to, I am watching and listening for chord changes. I can concentrate on this or can play non-chordally (filling in like a violin). I don’t need sheet music since I’m not singing the verse and the chorus where I join in singing is usually familiar (or you catch on to it if it’s simple).It’s really not that scary getting away from the chord sheets.

  15. #12
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunnyf View Post
    Classic country and Cowboy lyrics are two sites that have a wealth of gospel chord sheets. I’ve found everything from “Dropkick Me Jesus” to traditional stuff like “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” and of course, plenty of bluegrass gospel. No standard notation, but I’m not generally memorizing solos at this point or playing directly from sheet music at a jam. I just need the lyrics and am confirming the chord changes. The melody I’m playing by ear and embellishing it.You want to get away from the paper as soon as you can.

    BTW, Sherry, I think you and I may be in a similar place (adv. beg-early interm). I’ve just started to go to regular bg and gospel jams and here is my game plan which is working for me. Unlike the jam you go to, absolutely no on uses music sheets at any of the multiple jams I go to, save one monthly “slow” jam. So, I started with a handful (3-5) of songs that I already knew the lyrics and melody VERY well I just maybe had to work on a verse or so that wasn’t as familiar (sometimes church skips some later verses). I check out the chord sheet and diagram it up like this:
    1 1 1 1
    4 4 1 1
    1 1 1 1
    1 5 1 1
    This way, I can see where the song is going. One glance and you can get it in your head and stop looking at the sheet. Then, I noodle along with a Youtube video (slowing it down a little if I need to) until I get comfortable finding the melody. Lastly, I figure out what key I want to sing in and put that chord progression into Strum Machine and sing and play along (starting slower and working up to speed).

    Periodically, I add a song when I’m ready but keep fresh on the old ones. Before you know it, you have a workable little repertoire for jamming with no sheet music. This has worked well for me for the songs that I want to lead. For songs I’m just playing along to, I am watching and listening for chord changes. I can concentrate on this or can play non-chordally (filling in like a violin). I don’t need sheet music since I’m not singing the verse and the chorus where I join in singing is usually familiar (or you catch on to it if it’s simple).It’s really not that scary getting away from the chord sheets.
    Thanks for sharing your strategy, Bunny. Definitely something to work up to. I took a video of my sometime (vs. regular) teacher naming and playing guitar chords, so it helps being able to watch a good guitarist to know the right chords when I don't have a chart. You're probably doing that also.

    It's nice to know there's someone else in my stage of playing - there are so many "almost pros" in the Forum!

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    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    .... I took a video of my sometime (vs. regular) teacher naming and playing guitar chords, so it helps being able to watch a good guitarist to know the right chords when I don't have a chart. .....
    "Reading guitar hands" is a great thing to be able to do. Just be alert for the guitar capo. This will change the key and require adjustment on the mandolin. Your teacher can easily explain how this works. It's not too difficult

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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Steve Kaufman has a book called “Flatpicking the Gospels” that has basic chord/melody/lyric and more advanced solos, so you have both options. I still pull it out periodically and work through some of my favorites.
    Last edited by CES; May-05-2021 at 11:59pm.

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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kelly View Post
    What about asking some members of the group, Sherry? They might well have all the music the group plays, or at least they might have the lyrics with chords added.
    Seems like good advice.

    Especially since an unfortunate percentage of the official printed church music I've seen contains the admonition, "Guitar chords do not correspond to keyboard harmony".

    This can be a problem if there are keyboards (piano) and guitars (or other chord instruments) trying to play together, unless one or both contingents are willing/able to make some changes to what's written.

    It can sound awful if the pianist insists on playing everything exactly as written in the piano scores in the big hymnal (where the piano chords can often change on each and every melody note), while at the same time the guitars/ukes/etc are playing different chords from the official church guitar-chord songbook (the songs that have the "Guitar chords do not correspond to keyboard harmony" warning).

    To make it work, either the pianist has to simplify the piano score, or the guitar/uke players have to miraculously become virtuosos who can change chords up to 3 or 4 times in *each* bar all throughout the song. (For some songs. Not all of them are that way. Some of the older songs seem to be worse that way.)

    Point being, the chords that a group might finally agree on using, might be different than the chords shown in books or fakebooks or online resources. I suppose the main thing is that everyone in the group play the same chords at the same time. It probably doesn't matter so much if it's the 'wrong' chord, as long as everyone plays it together.

    Thus I agree with what John said, about asking the group about the chords.

    Hopefully Sherry's group is doing it better than one of the local groups I (very briefly) attended a few years ago. The one I went to had an extremely loud classically-trained pianist who prided herself on playing everything exactly as written in the big hymnal piano score, combined with several people thrashing away on out-of-tune guitars and ukuleles but using a different set of chords from a separate simplified guitar-only chordbook. It sounded very bad. No one could seem to understand what was wrong, since they were playing what their respective books said, so they assumed it would work. It did not.

  21. #16
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Interesting, JL! There's no piano in this group, so it appears that's a good thing.

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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Hey Sherry, another option for playing a song in a different key than you have music for is to use one of these automatic key change "calculators"... I've used these with some success. This works for chord Charts but not standard notation. Find the song you are looking for on one of the sites listed above... I do like Cowboy lyrics... highlight it and copy the whole song, then paste it in the field in one of these sites and it will transpose a whole chord chart for you:

    This is one I found on a quick search but have not tried: http://www.logue.net/xp/

    Also, a lot of sites like Ultimate Guitar have an option to automatically transpose the chord chart, you just have to scroll down and hunt for it. It will look like something that says "Transpose" and offer +1 or -1 where +1 goes up a sharp and -1 will go down a flat... ie if a song is written in A and you transpose to +1 it will go to A# (or B flat).

    Another option as someone alluded to is start to think of the notes in any given scale as numbers corresponding to their place in the scale. So you can transpose a song yourself.

    So say a song is written out in C and you want to play it in G: Write out the 2 scales 1 over top of the other, remembering that with chords the 1, the 4, and the 5 chords are major, everything else is minor and the 7 is a 7 chord.

    G - Am - Bm - C - D - Em - F#7 - G
    C - Dm - Em - F - G - Am - B7 - C

    From here you know what chord in the key of G corresponds to what chord in the key of C, and you can transpose this whole song yourself from C to G... or to whatever key fits your vocal range best.

    I used all 3 of these techniques frequently when I played in our church's worship band. Worship leaders always want to play stuff in the weirdest keys... it gets annoying, but it taught me how to transpose music!
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    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    I know you asked about printed material, but allow me to suggest the fine recording by Butch Baldaserri and John Mock
    "Mandolin Hymns". All instrumental, mostly older classics like Simple Gifts, Redeemed, Down to the River, Unclouded Day, Precious Memories, Sweet Hour of Prayer, Pass Me Not, Softly and Tenderly. I have listened to this CD countless times just to relax and feel that peace that old time gospel brings.
    My favorite hymn is Sweet Hour of Prayer and my favorite vocal version is Dale Ann Bradley on her CD "Pocket Full of Keys". Had the privilege to play warm up for one of her shows and her version of Sweet Hour (solo with just her playing guitar) was simply amazing.
    Just some ideas for you!
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  25. #19

    Default Re: Gospel Sheet Music or Chord Charts

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gnann View Post
    I know you asked about printed material, but allow me to suggest the fine recording by Butch Baldaserri and John Mock
    "Mandolin Hymns". All instrumental, mostly older classics like Simple Gifts, Redeemed, Down to the River, Unclouded Day, Precious Memories, Sweet Hour of Prayer, Pass Me Not, Softly and Tenderly. I have listened to this CD countless times just to relax and feel that peace that old time gospel brings.
    My favorite hymn is Sweet Hour of Prayer and my favorite vocal version is Dale Ann Bradley on her CD "Pocket Full of Keys". Had the privilege to play warm up for one of her shows and her version of Sweet Hour (solo with just her playing guitar) was simply amazing.
    Just some ideas for you!
    My experience is that there about 1000 gospel songs and hymns that are 3 chord (or 2 chord) songs, so they are very easy to pick up if you’ll pay attention. Learn the Nashville Numbers and you should be ready to go on a starting level. As mentioned above, learning to “read” the guitar players fretting hand is a good thing also, although sometimes that is a bit tricky. And, don’t forget you might want to just keep the rhythm by muting your strings or something or just observe. Hopefully they don’t mind beginners starting out slowly.

    One thing Ive learned is that many of the hymns in the hymn books are in the key of F, which might be tricky, if you are playing as written. Probably most people would just do them in G. However, I was asked to play my octave mandolin on the 4th and told we would be playing the song in F. So… hope I don’t get put in Gospel players jail… but I just tuned down to F,C,G,D and plowed ahead. Obviously you cant do that on the fly (or I can’t) but it seemed to work fine.

    Pat Hull

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