Down to the River to Pray
Sheet Music

Down to the River to Pray, sheet music with a satisfying & pretty early intermediate piano arrangement!  Four arrangements:

  • Lead sheet in F
  • Lead sheet in G
  • Piano arrangement in F
  • Piano arrangement in G

Hear Alison Krauss sing this song:

Piano arrangements in 2 keys


* Listen to an audio of the piano arrangement *


Down to the River to Pray sheet music

The left hand is fairly predictable; though not simple enough for a beginner, it doesn't move around much.

Then, at the chorus, it changes to nice easy root position open chords.

The very first left hand notes are what I call a "baby" F chord; it may sound silly, but it makes perfect sense to my students!

Down to the River to Pray lyrics

When I introduce this music to students who have heard this song before, they say, "I LOVE this song!"

Inevitably, there may be a few differences in the version they are familiar with, and the arrangements I have made here.  That's the way it is with "traditional" music!  And I tell them, in many cases, that they can change up the music and play it the way they like best.  Not so with classical music; but with folk/traditional music, why not?

Not really a hymn

This is not a song most people would hear in their church... I do believe it is a spiritual, and that many people know it through the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"  I THINK.  Correct me if I'm wrong!

A fellow musician told me years ago that "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is an ICONIC movie that everyone should see - so my husband and I watched it - but honestly, the only thing I remember about that movie is this beautiful song "Down to the River."

Lead sheets in 2 keys

Down to the River hymn lead sheet
Down in the River song

My version follows Alison Krauss's melody

As near as I could, I followed the melodic line and rhythm heard in the lovely rendition in the video above.  If you have your singers learn and perform this song, be aware that the title "Down TO the River" isn't found in the lyrics; there, it is "Down IN the River."  Make sure everyone is on board!

Hear my arrangement again:


 * Listen to the piano arrangement again! *



The links for the piano arrangements:



Download Down to the River to Pray sheet music for piano, key of F



Download Down to the River for piano in the key of G



The links for the lead sheets:



Download lead sheet for Down to the River, key of F



Download Down in the River to Pray, lead sheet, key of G








Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church?  Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!

SingTheBibleStory.com clickable logo link

Recent Articles

  1. Merry Merry Christmas Singing Round: Short, Sweet, Energetic!

    Merry Merry Christmas singing round is fast & pretty, and you may have never heard it before! Super simple lyrics. Get the free sheet music here.

    Read More

  2. Canon Sheet Music for Beginner Piano Students

    Canon sheet music for beginners. Maybe THE EASIEST CANON arrangement in the world, with broken chords! Seven different versions, & a duet arrangement.

    Read More

  3. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Sheet Music for Piano & Voice, Free!

    'Twas the Night Before Christmas sheet music for early piano. The entire poem by Clement C. Moore is here, with a rhythmic melody that is easy to play & sing!

    Read More

  4. Down to the River to Pray Sheet Music & Lyrics: Free PDF Downloads

    Down to the River to Pray, sheet music in the keys of F & G, piano & lead sheets. A satisfying & pretty early intermediate piano arrangement!

    Read More

  5. I Love You, Lord: Sheet Music & Easy Tabs for Piano, Voice & Guitar

    I Love You, Lord sheet music - a beautiful arrangement for advancing piano students, plus a guitar tabs sheet that is very easy. In the keys of F and G.

    Read More

Songs Old & Songs New

All the first-year material I give my beginner students. 

Piano keyboard sheets, scales, chords, note-reading exercises, and over 256 pages of music!

The Story of Esther - a Bible opera!

Queen Esther in the Bible

This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This",  available as a digital downloadtells the riveting story of the time when  Jews in ancient Persia faced a foe named Haman, and how a  brave young queen risked her life to save her people.

A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!

This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.


Just the Black Keys, a piano song book for young beginners.

Just the Black Keys

This book is available as a digital download  from this site.  Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.

It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!

This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.

And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!"  They will be spending more time at the piano.

The Adventures of Tonsta, Volume 1, is a book about a young boy travelling over mountains and fjords from village to village, encountering trolls and helping folk in distress.

The Adventures of Tonsta

A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls. 

The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.  

With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.

Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!

Available at Amazon

Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.


About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.