Sheet music now available!

At long last, I’ve finished putting together a PDF of the sheet music for the Hymns for Dementia recordings.

When I first posted the recordings, more than one person wrote to say they’d love the sheet music for the songs, in the lower keys in which the songs are recorded (lower keys are better for older voices). So here they are!

The PDF includes nearly all of the public-domain hymns, transposed to the lower keys in which they were recorded. (I didn’t include PDFs for the few songs that still retain a copyright or that didn’t have a MusicXML file.)

My thanks to a great hymn database

I want to give a HUGE shout-out to Hymnary.org here. During the entire 18+ months of putting together the Hymns project, I consulted Hymnary.org countless times for lyrics and sheet music of the classic hymns and spirituals. It is an amazing resource: a searchable index of nearly every classic hymn you can think of, and so much more.

To give you an idea, here’s what you can find for every hymn in the Hymnary.org database. I’m using the hymn “Amazing Grace” as an example:

  • The “representative” (most common) lyrics.
  • A “compare texts” function that shows every variation on those lyrics across different denominations. A color-coded key indicates just how different the lyrics are from the representative version.
  • Historical notes on the author and tune(s).
  • A list of hymnals in which the particular hymn appears. I used that information to chart each hymn’s frequency across denominations, which helped me choose the most well-known ones to record for the elders.
  • Crucially, downloadable PDF, MusicXML, and/or MIDI audio files for download. I used the MusicXML files to transpose to the lower keys that I needed for the Hymns project. (Even as I type this, I’m remembering how long this took!)

If you’re as grateful as I am that this resource exists, I encourage you to consider making a donation to the site. (In case you’re interested, here’s my letter from April 2019 that accompanied a donation.)

And: Lyrics with Index

I’ve also just uploaded a new PDF of the lyrics for all of the hymns — this time including an index, which was helpfully compiled by Chaplain Kelsey Hill, who serves at Frasier Retirement Community here in Boulder, CO. (Thank you, Kelsey!)

If you prefer to make your own songbook, here are the lyrics without page numbers. You can pick and choose pages from this document and number them however you like.

Peace be with you,

signaturescript

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

6 thoughts on “Sheet music now available!

  1. Steve Bosley says:

    Nice Do you do a Sunday service regularly

    On Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 8:02 AM Spiritual Eldercare wrote:

    > Elisa Bosley posted: ” At long last, I’ve finished putting together a PDF > of the sheet music for the Hymns for Alzheimers recordings. When I first > posted the recordings, more than one person wrote to say they’d love the > sheet music for the songs, in the lower keys in which ” >

    Like

  2. Kelsey Hill says:

    Elisa,

    This is wonderful! Thank you for all your hard work. The residents in our memory support have really enjoyed the songs on Sunday mornings. Another great resource for hymn histories is the UMC website: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship-planning/history-of-hymns. I’d love to get together with you for coffee again sometime soon. I’m in Cheyenne Mon-Wed next week, but I’m available from Thursday on. Let me know what would work with your schedule.

    Peace,
    Kelsey

    Like

  3. Michele Southerland says:

    I appreciate your insights and work on this project. I have a problem though… This is what the hymns look like when I open the document. Words are covered by notes, and verses are in mixed orders. I am sure this isn’t how you created it, so I’m wondering what happened in distribution..

    [image: image.png]

    *Michele Southerland*

    On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 9:03 AM Spiritual Eldercare wrote:

    > Elisa Bosley posted: ” At long last, I’ve finished putting together a PDF > of the sheet music for the Hymns for Alzheimers recordings. When I first > posted the recordings, more than one person wrote to say they’d love the > sheet music for the songs, in the lower keys in which ” >

    Like

    • Elisa Bosley says:

      Michele, thanks for writing! There are several levels to this explanation:

      1. When I transposed the original hymns from Hymnary.org into lower keys, the notes naturally “moved” lower on the staff, thereby covering some of the lyrics.
      2. I thought that perhaps a pianist would want the lyrics to make it easier for the pianist to lead the singing while playing. Based on that, I made the decision to leave the words, even though some of the notes overlap them.
      3. For the most part, I also decided to leave the lyrics as they appeared on the originals that I downloaded from Hymnary.org. These lyrics don’t necessarily correspond exactly to the lyrics I chose for my recordings and hymnals; classic hymn lyrics have numerous variations among denominations. It would have taken an immense amount of time for me to modify each piece of sheet music that way … and I figured it was better to get the sheet music out there sooner rather than later.
      4. Hymnary.org is a free (and wonderful) resource … and the originals aren’t necessarily perfect. I know my accompanist made numerous small changes as we went through the recordings, but I hope they aren’t so major that it causes problems for others.

      In general, my vision for the sheet music was to enable pianists to play the music for elders as the elders sang along using the hymnals I provide on the site. That means the pianist would most likely need to ignore the lyrics as they appear on the sheet music altogether.

      Not being a pianist myself, I don’t know if this was the best approach, but it was the quickest! Please let me know if I can help or do something different, and thanks for your input.

      Like

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