When He Cometh, or "Jewels"
Old-Time Gospel Music

When He Cometh is an old-time gospel hymn.  Very sweet, and very simple, this is one your piano students can learn from!

Alison Krauss and the Cox Family singing "Jewels," the other name of this song:

Like "Farther On," this music is another old-time gospel hymn I first heard from the Zahasky family of the Alaska String Band.  There is no online video of them singing it that I could find, but their rendition, a combination of voices and stringed instruments, is sweet, heart-felt, warm, and very polished - my favorite.  Here is my adaptation of their version:

Old-time gospel music When He Cometh

Download When He Cometh gospel hymn in C

Download free old-time gospel hymn in key of D

A word about the piano arrangement: The arrangement above is - basically - how I play When He Cometh when I accompany a singer (or myself, singing for fun).  If you are baffled by the G chord with C in the bass in measures 4 and 8, and you find you don't like it, just use a G broken chord instead.  

I like using a "pedal point" (unchanging bass note under changing chords) sometimes, because it either builds excitement or musical tension, or makes the change to regular bass notes, when it finally comes, feel so RIGHT - like a fulfillment.

Now here is "Jewels" with guitar tabs:

Lead sheet with guitar tabs for Jewels song

Download guitar tablature and lead sheet in key of C

Download free hymn sheet music lead sheet in D

Simple for guitar...

Very simple chords - I, IV, & V - make this an easy song for beginning guitarists.  Either "baby" chords using 3 strings in the key of C (to avoid the difficult and painful F chord), or if your students already play big chords, choose the key of D.

and pianists...

Playing both melody and chords together will require some careful RH (right hand) fingering.  With my piano students, I have used this lovely hymn to encourage chord accompanying (the lead sheet approach) and then when that is pretty well in hand in the key of C, transpose it up to the key of D.  

and singers...

For vocalists, an easy harmony is possible.  This would be primarily a 3rd apart, which sounds particularly sweet when it waits until the chorus to join in.

Another version of Jewels can be found over at MusicFolkPlayHymns.com, where a verse from the Old Testament of the Bible is transcribed onto the sheetmusic:

And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; -- Malachi 3:17

Here is the background to the lyrics of When He Cometh, from the website ScriptureAndMusic.com:

William Orcutt Cushing conceived the idea for his “Jewel Song” text from the promise in Malachi 3:17: “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” Pastor Cushing wrote the text for the children in his own Sunday school in 1856.

Several years later, William Cushing suffered a period of deep despair in his life. After the death of his wife, he developed a paralysis and the loss of his speech at the age of forty-seven. He was forced to retire from the ministry after twenty-seven years as a pastor in the Disciples of Christ churches. When he pleaded, “Lord, give me something to do for Thee,” God answered, giving him the gift of writing appealing hymn texts. He worked with such musicians as Ira Sankey and George Root to produce more than 300 gospel hymns during his remaining years.

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