“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” with multiple descants

A basic skill for any organist/church musician is composing hymn descants. Descants are countermelodies that make the singing of the hymn tune more enjoyable for the congregation…they allow the singers to enjoy the tension of counterpoint at a visceral level.

Jesus walked this lonesome valley

Back in the days of hardware synths, Proteus had a patch called “Whistlin’ Joe,” which was the sound the old TV series, The X-Files” theme used. I think the Proteus sounds are now available as a softsyth library. Was tempted to track it down and buy it just for the little echo sound in this sort of Mayberry R.F.D interpretation. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but the melody of this great old tune has always seemed to me to be optimistically lighthearted despite the lyrics and therefore deserves that treatment.

Come O Fount, Jesus Savior, Tossed and Driven

I was born and raised down at the very bottom tip of Illinois where it meets Tennessee, Missouri, and Kentucky…partially in an area known as the Ozarks. In short: a hillbilly. I knew classical music of course. My first records were Stravinsky’s the Rite of Spring, Shostakovich 1st Symphony and his cello concerto and the electronic music pioneer Oskar Sala, but also Al Hirt, George Lewis and Elvis, and playing in my father’s evening church services and in summer youth camp meeting tents. Eclectic fair for a middle school kid to say the least.

Now rejoice ye, dear Christians all – JS Bach

Well, I lost the performance video of me performing this on keyboards that goes with the soundtrack itself, so (waste not, want not) I married the track to pictures of my favorite liturgical symbol — BREAD!

Yeah, I know, communion bread is supposed to be unleavened bread (wikipedia: The hostia or sacramental bread, known as prosphorá or a πρόσφορον (prósphoron, “offering”) may be made out of only four ingredients: fine (white) wheat flour, pure water, yeast, and salt.) Nevertheless…

The Turtle Dove

Reposting some hymn tune arrangements in honor of the Lenten season. Streaming links at hiltonkeanjones.hearnow.com/simple-hymns. MP3 downloads and CDs available at hiltonjones.bandcamp.com/music. FREE CDs available at Lakewood UCC church service.

Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

All four albums are now on streaming sites. Here’s the Spotify links. If you know someone who you think would enjoy this kind of mellow instrumental music, please share.

Simple Songs
Simple Hymns
Meditations & Reflections
Christmas Piano

Last Week…

Last week, I played an arrangement of Amazing Grace that is, more or less, a transcription of an orchestrated version that’s on simple hymns (currently a digital album, soon an audio CD). I’m going to try to make as many of my arrangements on simple hymns into piano solos as I can since it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to perform them with an orchestra but I definitely will get to perform them as piano solos! This solo piano version is available for purchase on SheetMusicPlus. But, for a couple week you’re welcome to download a complimentary copy below!

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