The Hymn Sketches are a time of personal reflection on 1) the hymns of my past, and 2) the process of arranging and recording a quick sketch (arrangement) of the hymn that musically represents how the hymn speaks to my life. The recording of the hymn is found at the end of this post.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time this month (October 2017) dedicated to the hymn I Surrender All. Not only have I enjoyed reflecting on the freedom and abundant life that I receive when my all is surrendered to Him (see my last blog post), but I also enjoyed the process of arranging and recording the hymn sketch. I have learned many things during this month, but one important thing is that of setting deadlines. I worked fervently to meet the deadline of this post, with the sketch recording being complete by the end of October. While this post is a few days late, I firmly believe it was the best decision to allow a few extra days to complete the sketch recording. Therefore, the recording of the next hymn will begin sooner to allow time to complete the final recording processes by the end of the month.
Musical Arrangement & Representation of I Surrender All
The instrumentation chosen for each area of the the arrangement (introduction, verse, chorus, ending) was selected to correspond with specific applications of the hymn to my personal journey of surrender. The section below outlines the hymn as I have recorded it and describes the thought process behind the instrumentation for each section.
0:00-0:35 Introduction (Acoustic Guitar)
The acoustic guitar presents the melodic line of the verse. First, the presentation of the melody from the verse is not a direct quote of the original melodic line. It has been humbly personalized just as I must humbly surrender to Him. My past is different than yours. My prayer of surrender includes all of me – my past, my present, and my future. We all have different stories connected to these eras. Second, the approach to the melody is a single voice (instrument). No one else can surrender for me. I must personally surrender all to Him. While surrender can take place in corporate prayer, it is the single voice of surrender from my heart that reaches the throne of grace. The conclusion of the introduction introduces the additional voices of piano and percussion.
0:35-2:34 (Piano: Verse 1 Flugelhorn: Verses 2-3, Chorus 1)
The piano presents the verse and represents the beginning of a surrendered life. It clearly represents joy but has moments that reflect uncertainty. Uncertainty of what the future holds. Uncertainty of what my direction in life should be.
The flugelhorn portrays my Christian walk with moments of clarity and moments of exploring God’s goodness. The flugelhorn represents these moments (Verses 2-3, Chorus) through the melodic line which is occasionally altered.
The transition is very unique. The tempo of the song increases from 70 BPM to 80 BPM. Listen closely and you will hear a rhythmic, accelerating heartbeat that represents the joy and excitement of living an abundant life experienced by surrendering all to Him.
2:44-3:08 (Trumpet: Chorus 2-3)
Several important points to note in this section. 1) The chorus is presented at the new tempo with a switch from the mellow timbre of the flugelhorn to the celebratory sound of the trumpet. 2) The short/separated presentation of the chorus denotes freedom. Freedom found only in living a surrendered life. 3) In the 3rd chorus I present a personal declaration by ascending to the trumpet’s upper register to proclaim, without reservation, that since I surrendered my life to Jesus I am free to sing His praises!
The ending restates the motive of I Surrender All. The final presentation of this motive is played by the trumpet using a plunger mute and concludes this month’s journey through I Surrender All appropriately – My life of surrender is unique, full of emotion, and truly blessed!
** This recording is a sketch of my arrangement ideas for this hymn. It is not intended to be a finished, finely-tuned arrangement for distribution.**
Behind the Scenes
Thank you to my son, Michael, for adding his voice (acoustic guitar), and to one of my students, Jonathan Stevens, for his voice (piano).