Free Hymn Sheet Music,
Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling

If you want contemplative music that will soften and touch hearts, this free hymn sheet music is what you are looking for. 

First, have a look at the lead sheet:

Softly and Tenderly free hymn sheet music

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

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. 

A piano arrangement:

Softly and Tenderly free hymn sheet music

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

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.

I live in Alaska.  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.

Free and beautiful hymn sheet music

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

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... or stuck in a rut.

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!

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 tabs for Softly and Tenderly, a hymn

guitar tabs for free hymn sheet music 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.

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."

Speaking of Jesus, Matthew says (quoting the Isaiah 42:7) "...the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned."





The link to the lead sheet:


Free hymn sheet music Softly and Tenderly Lead Sheet 



The links to the piano sheet music:


Download free sheet music Softly and Tenderly with piano accompaniment in key of G 


Download hymn piano arrangement in the key of F 



The link to the guitar tab sheet:


Guitar tablature and guitar chords for hymn Softly and Tenderly 







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

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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.