strathspey Archive: Amazing Grace on pipes

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Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6403 · Andrew J. M. Smith · 27 Jan 1997 17:39:04 · Top

I was asked this question yesterday, just after we had completed a
demonstration at a church. I'm not sure of the answer, but would
appreciate replies via private e-mail.

The question: Amazing Grace was a big hit in the 70s, both in America and
the UK, played by the pipe band of one of the Scottish Regiments. Was the
tune in the pipe repertoire before this time, or was this really its
introduction?

Additional Question for Scots: were any of you familiar with this tune
before it became a "hit"? If so in what context? As a hymn or a pipe tune?

Thanks in advance for the help.

*******************************************************************************
Message from:
Andrew J. M. Smith
Andrew-Smith@gsu.edu
*******************************************************************************

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6404 · Susan Worland · 27 Jan 1997 18:18:48 · Top

At 10:38 AM 1/27/97 -0500, you wrote:
>
>
>Additional Question for Scots: were any of you familiar with this tune
>before it became a "hit"? If so in what context? As a hymn or a pipe tune?
>

Answer from an American: I don't remember *not* knowing it, although surely
there must have been a time! I certainly knew it before the 70s, probably
from a hymn context. In fact, I played it during an Easter morning outdoor
sunrise service at Big Bend National Park once, which was quite a highlight
for me, but perhaps not quite so much so as hearing it in Poland!

*************************************************************
Susan Worland | Phone: (508) 651-0070 x242
Web Development | Fax: (508) 651-0080
Onward Technologies, Inc. | email: susan@onwardtech.com
313 Speen Street | http://www.onwardtech.com
Natick, MA 01760

ONWARD TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
"Online Solutions. Bottom Line Results."
*************************************************************

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6406 · stasa_morgan-appel · 27 Jan 1997 20:34:22 · Top

This answer is off the top of my head, since I don't have any sources
with me here, so if anyone has the specifics, please let us know. As
I understand it, the words to the hymn most commonly sung in America
were, ironically, composed just prior to our Civil War by a southern
slave owner (whose name I can't recall). I can say definitively that
there are other words besides his that people of other religions
(including some Christian denominations) sing in this country to the
same tune. (But that doesn't answer the original question about when
the original tune appeared, or when it became popular on bagpipes.)

______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________
Subject: Re: Amazing Grace on pipes
Author: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
Precedence: list at UUCPGATE
Date: 1/27/97 11:32 AM

At 10:38 AM 1/27/97 -0500, you wrote:
>
>
>Additional Question for Scots: were any of you familiar with this tune
>before it became a "hit"? If so in what context? As a hymn or a pipe tune?
>


Answer from an American: I don't remember *not* knowing it, although surely
there must have been a time! I certainly knew it before the 70s, probably
from a hymn context. In fact, I played it during an Easter morning outdoor
sunrise service at Big Bend National Park once, which was quite a highlight
for me, but perhaps not quite so much so as hearing it in Poland!

*************************************************************
Susan Worland | Phone: (508) 651-0070 x242
Web Development | Fax: (508) 651-0080
Onward Technologies, Inc. | email: susan@onwardtech.com
313 Speen Street | http://www.onwardtech.com
Natick, MA 01760

ONWARD TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
"Online Solutions. Bottom Line Results."
*************************************************************

--
Susan Worland <susan@onwardtech.com>

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6409 · Mike Briggs · 27 Jan 1997 21:57:22 · Top

stasa morgan-appel wrote:

(snip) As I understand it, the words to the hymn most commonly sung
in America were, ironically, composed just prior to our Civil War by a
southern slave owner (whose name I can't recall).

Almost right on the words: the author was John Newton, who was not so
much a slaveowner as a slavetrader, and was not "southern" American: he
was English (whether "southern" or "northern", I don't know). He
had a conversion experience (described in "Amazing Grace"), and (I
think) became a Church of England priest. The tune is anon. American,
and must have been written around the turn of the (19th) century, since
it exists in the early shape-note hymnals of the period.

Mike Briggs

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6410 · Mike Briggs · 27 Jan 1997 22:06:10 · Top

... and a follow-up to my last. Newton was mid-18th c., not mid-19th
c.

My sense is that as a pipe tune "Amazing Grace" doesn't go back much
further than the pipe band record that made the charts about 20 years
ago. The worst version of this tune I ever heard was as a waltz, done
by the Box and Banjo Band from Glasgow. I assume that version descended
from the pipe version, but I'm open to correction.

Mike Briggs

--
ÿWPC‡

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6411 · stasa_morgan-appel · 27 Jan 1997 22:30:00 · Top

Thanks! :)

______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________
Subject: Re: Amazing Grace on pipes
Author: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
Precedence: list at UUCPGATE
Date: 1/27/97 3:01 PM

stasa morgan-appel wrote:

(snip) As I understand it, the words to the hymn most commonly sung
in America were, ironically, composed just prior to our Civil War by a
southern slave owner (whose name I can't recall).

Almost right on the words: the author was John Newton, who was not so
much a slaveowner as a slavetrader, and was not "southern" American: he
was English (whether "southern" or "northern", I don't know). He
had a conversion experience (described in "Amazing Grace"), and (I
think) became a Church of England priest. The tune is anon. American,
and must have been written around the turn of the (19th) century, since
it exists in the early shape-note hymnals of the period.

Mike Briggs

--
Mike or Norma Briggs <brigglaw@execpc.com>

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6412 · Jacob Mattison · 27 Jan 1997 22:39:25 · Top

At 01:55 PM 1/27/97 -0600, Mike or Norma Briggs wrote:

>stasa morgan-appel wrote:
>
>(snip) As I understand it, the words to the hymn most commonly sung
>in America were, ironically, composed just prior to our Civil War by a
>southern slave owner (whose name I can't recall).
>
> Almost right on the words: the author was John Newton, who was not so
>much a slaveowner as a slavetrader, and was not "southern" American: he
>was English (whether "southern" or "northern", I don't know). He
>had a conversion experience (described in "Amazing Grace"), and (I
>think) became a Church of England priest.

As I heard the story, his conversion experience occurred during a trip from
Africa with a boatload of slaves; he turned around and took them home again.
(This is how folksinger Arlo Guthrie told the story during a concert.)

Jacob

Jacob Mattison mattison@dolphin.upenn.edu
Department of Fine Arts University of Pennsylvania

perhaps some chocolate chip cookies and milk

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6414 · Nancy Lorimer · 27 Jan 1997 22:54:47 · Top

At 03:07 PM 1/27/97, Mike Briggs wrote:

> Almost right on the words: the author was John Newton, who was not so
>much a slaveowner as a slavetrader, and was not "southern" American: he
>was English (whether "southern" or "northern", I don't know). He
>had a conversion experience (described in "Amazing Grace"), and (I
>think) became a Church of England priest. The tune is anon. American,
>and must have been written around the turn of the (19th) century, since
>it exists in the early shape-note hymnals of the period.
>
>Mike Briggs
>
According to the Dictionary of Hymnology, the text of Amazing Grace first
appears in a collection entitled "Olney Hymns" published in 1779. It's
original title was "Faith's Review and Expectation". The tune is classified
as "American traditional". I would suppose it dates from around the same
time or a bit earlier.

Nancy Lorimer
*****************
Nancy Lorimer
Stanford University Music Library
Braun Music Center
Stanford CA 94305-3076
email: Nancy.Lorimer@stanford.edu
phone: (415) 725-1148

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6415 · Courtney Cartwright · 28 Jan 1997 02:27:19 · Top

If I recall, Bill Moyers did a PBS Special for American Television which
traces the history of "Amazing Grace". You might find this at your local
video shop or
possibly at the Public Library (or through Inter-Library Loan).

--
Courtney Cartwright
Tucson, Arizona
ccartwri@primenet.com

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6417 · ERBRUNKEN · 28 Jan 1997 03:39:09 · Top

I was only familiar with it as a hymn.... and a Judy Collins hit!

E

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6426 · Leslie Lauderdale · 28 Jan 1997 16:54:04 · Top

Amazing Grace was a hymn tune used at church camps, in tent revivals,
and -- occasionally -- in a church service for the Disciples of Christ
in MS, OK, KS, TX, and KY. It dates back to at least the 1930s in that
context as my family has revival flyers of my grandfather, Brother Paul,
preaching using "Amazing Grace" as the theme.

It was always one of Granpa's favorite tunes.

Leslie Lauderdale
St. Paul, MN

Amazing Grace on pipes

Message 6428 · Martin Mulligan · 28 Jan 1997 17:18:58 · Top

In the discussions so far on the topic, I've been surprised that there has
been no mention of the 22nd/23rd psalm set to the tune of "amazing grace".
I first heard Jean Redpath sing this and thought it terrific. Can anyone
explain this connection in the historical context?

Martin Mulligan
St. John's, Newfoundland
mulligan@morgan.ucs.mun.ca

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