If you want contemplative music that will soften and touch hearts, this free hymn sheet music is what you are looking for.
Its sweetness and sentimentality, frequently seen as drawbacks in music, poetry, and art, make it very appropriate for those sad occasions when funeral hymns are needed. For "Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is Calling" is about going home -- the final home.
This beautiful hymn sets the tone in the movie "The Trip to Bountiful", a sad but sweet story about an old woman living with her childless son and hard-hearted daughter-in-law. Her dream is to take a trip back home to Bountiful, Texas, a place filled with wonderful memories for her, but since no one will take her there, one day she sneaks out and runs away on the bus. It is a thoughtful story about the small doings of family, of the daily living of life.
Free hymn sheet music Softly and Tenderly Lead Sheet
One of the things I love about this hymn is that it calls to those who, apparently, have no right to expect a welcome..."O sinner, come home." It speaks to the undeserving, to the stranger.
In the interior of Alaska and Canada, where there may be no towns for a hundred or more miles, a code of hospitality encouraged folks to leave cabins unlocked, and stocked with canned goods and heating fuel for the next traveller on the road. It could mean life instead of death, to come upon such a refuge in the wilderness.
Download free sheet music Softly and Tenderly with piano accompaniment in key of G
When you have a string of songs planned to play before a church service, it can be a huge disappointment to realize they are all in the same key! The hymns all start to sound the same. To prevent that happening with this hymn, I decided to use the very same arrangement, but in the key of F. The ear needs the refreshment of a key change!
Download hymn in the key of F
In ancient Israel, hospitality to "the stranger" was part of the Law of Moses. "You shall love him as yourself... for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." These words are found in the book of the Bible called Leviticus (19:33).
And speaking in the portion of the Bible written after the death of Jesus, a Jew named Paul tells a group of NON-Jews that though they were strangers to the "covenant of promise, and far off," they have been brought near, and now are even "members of the household." (Letter to the Ephesians, 2:11-19.)
Guitar chords for hymns frequently require a capo, but not with this hymn. Softly and Tenderly is in one of my favorite keys for guitar, the key of G. Easy chords. But secondary chords are a necessity in the chorus of this free hymn sheet music.
In other words, just the I, IV, and V chords aren't enough (in this song, that would be the G, C and D or D7 chords). Em isn't necessary, but it's nice, so I use it. Then the hymn's guitar chords sneak briefly into the key of A, and so the A7 and E7 chords -- not ordinarily a part of the key of G! -- show up, and the D to D7 chords act as a bridge to lead you back into the key of G again.
The D7 is prettier if you hold off on it, as the music shows:
Guitar tablature and guitar chords for hymn Softly and Tenderly
"Come home...come home...ye who are weary, come home..."
The Bible is itself a story of hospitality, but on epic proportions. Each soul is seen by God as a Wanderer, a "stranger in a strange land," struggling through a wilderness, this brief life we have.
At the climax of the story, God himself, the strong Warrior, comes down and enters into the battle for the souls of those lost ones. Then he throws open heaven's doors to all who choose to come.
Here is another version of Softly and Tenderly which I like:
Like many funeral hymns, this simple song is sentimental, but comforting. Death's night is coming for each one of us...but as the book of Genesis claims, God commanded light to shine in the darkness. "Let there be light." And later Peter, a disciple of Jesus, recalled these words, saying "God has called you OUT of darkness and into his marvelous light."
Music has such power to move the heart... do you have a story or a question about this music?
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