NEW BRITAIN

Composer: Anonymous

In some hymnals, the editors noted that a hymn's author is unknown to them, and so this artificial "person" entry is used to reflect that fact. Obviously, the hymns attributed to "Author Unknown" "Unknown" or "Anonymous" could have been written by many people over a span of many centuries. Go to person page >

Tune Information

Composer: Anonymous (1829)
Meter: 8.6.8.6
Incipit: 51313 21655 13132
Key: F Major or modal
Source: Virginia Harmony, 1831

Texts

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)

Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.

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Notes

NEW BRITAIN (also known as AMAZING GRACE) was originally a folk tune, probably sung slowly with grace notes and melodic embellishments. Typical of the Appalachian tunes from the southern United States, NEW BRITAIN is pentatonic with melodic figures that outline triads. It was first published as a hymn tune in shape notes in Columbian Harmony (1829) to the text "Arise, my soul, my joyful pow'rs." It was first set to "Amazing Grace" in William Walker's (PHH 44) Southern Harmony (1835) (see facsimile at p. 85).

The setting is from Edwin O. Excell's Make His Praise Glorious (1900). Excell (b. Stark County, OH, 1851; d. Louisville, KY, 1921) grew up in a German Reformed parsonage and worked as a bricklayer as a young man. In 1871 he became a singing school teacher. Soon after, while leading the music and singing solos in a Methodist revival, he experienced a conversion. Excell joined evangelist Sam P. Jones as a song leader, and the two traveled the United States as an evangelistic team. An important figure in the Sunday school movement, Excell wrote over two thousand gospel songs and edited ninety songbooks. He became a very successful publisher of hymn books in Chicago; his company, the Biglow-Main-Excell Company, eventually merged with Hope Publishing Company.

Since NEW BRITAIN is pentatonic, it can be sung unaccompanied in a two- or even four-part canon, with groups entering after one or two measures. Sing stanzas 1 and 5 in unison and stanzas 2 and 3 in harmony, and to illustrate the text, try stanza 4 in canon. Use light accompaniment, but consider singing stanza 3 unaccompanied.

Some recordings of "Amazing Grace" by recent pop singers have cast a sentimental shadow over this hymn, presumably because those performers do not understand the experience of salvation that so amazed Newton. Christians should sing this hymn with some vigor and a moderate tempo that supports their convictions.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Also see this book:
Turner, Steve. Amazing Grace: The Story of America's Most Beloved Song. New York: Ecco, 2002.

Media

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #330
Text: Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound
Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #165
  • Four-part harmony, full-score (PDF, NWC)
The Cyber Hymnal #144
Text: Amazing Grace
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
The Cyber Hymnal #8230
Text: Genade Onberskryflik Groot Het
  • Noteworthy Composer Score (NWC)
The Cyber Hymnal #9265
Text: Anugerah Yang Mengherankan
  • PDF (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer Score (NWC)
The Cyber Hymnal #9301
Text: Sungguh Besar Angu'rah Mu
  • PDF (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer Score (NWC)
The Cyber Hymnal #9309
Text: Awake, Ye Saints; To Praise Your King
  • PDF (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer Score (NWC)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #462
Text: Amazing Grace--How Sweet the Sound
Timeless Truths #556
Text: Amazing Grace
The United Methodist Hymnal #378
Text: Amazing Grace
Worship and Rejoice #422
Text: Amazing Grace!

Instances

Instances (1 - 94 of 94)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
African American Heritage Hymnal #271TextPage Scan
Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #578
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #587Text
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #330TextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Baptist Hymnal 2008 #104
Catholic Book of Worship III #480
Celebrating Grace Hymnal #587TextPage Scan
Chalice Hymnal #546TextPage Scan
Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #165Tune InfoScoreAudio
Christian Science Hymnal Supplement: Hymns 430-462 #431
Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #379Text
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #555aText
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #555bText
Common Praise (1998) #352TextPage Scan
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #375
Community of Christ Sings #19
Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #218Text
Evangelical Lutheran Worship #779TextPage Scan
Gather (3rd ed.) #645Page Scan
Gather Comprehensive #612TextPage Scan
Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #586Page Scan
Glaubenslieder #310
Glaubenslieder #310A
Glory & Praise Parish Music Program #3
Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #649Text InfoAudio
Hinário para o Culto Cristão #314
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #671Text
Hymns and Psalms - 1983 #215
Hymns for a Pilgrim People: a congregational hymnal #334
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #28
Hymns of Faith #200TextPage Scan
Hymns of Promise: a large print songbook #32
Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #34
Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #495
Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #786
Lift Every Voice and Sing II: an African American hymnal #49
Lift Every Voice and Sing II: an African American hymnal #181TextPage Scan
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #670FlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #691TextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Lutheran Service Book #744Text
Lutheran Worship #509Text
New English Praise: a supplement to the New English Hymnal #626
Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #545
Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #293
Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #280TextPage Scan
Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #40BPage Scan
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #462Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Rejoice Hymns #130
Rejoice in the Lord #456TextPage Scan
Renew! #189TextPage Scan
Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #108
Shaping Sanctuary: Proclaiming God's Grace in an Inclusive Church #274b
Sheng tu shi ge = Hymnary (聖徒詩歌) #31a
Sheng tu shi ge = Hymnary (聖徒詩歌) #187Text
Sheng tu shi ge = Hymnary (聖徒詩歌) #693
Sing Joyfully #299TextPage Scan
Sing With Me #186Text
Singing Our Faith: a hymnal for young Catholics #263TextPage Scan
Singing the Faith #440
Singing the New Testament #214
Small Church Music #1Audio
Songs for Life #209Text
Songs for Suffering Saints: Thirty-two original hymns set to existing tunes #28
Soul-stirring Songs & Hymns (Rev. ed.) #244
The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #343Text
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #341
The Cyber Hymnal #144TextScoreAudio
The Cyber Hymnal #8230TextScoreAudio
The Cyber Hymnal #9265TextScoreAudio
The Cyber Hymnal #9301TextScoreAudio
The Cyber Hymnal #9309TextScoreAudio
The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #202TextPage Scan
The New Century Hymnal #547TextPage Scan
The New Century Hymnal #548
The New Century Hymnal #617TextPage Scan
The Sacred Harp: the best collection of sacred songs, hymns, odes, and anthems ever offered the singing public for general use (1991 rev.) #45a
The United Methodist Hymnal #378TextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement II #5Text
The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement II #6Text
The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement II #7
The Worshiping Church #502TextFlexScorePage Scan
Timeless Truths #556TextScoreAudio
Together in Song: Australian hymn book II #129
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #460TextFlexScorePage Scan
TTT-Himnaro Cigneta #610TextAudio
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #266TextPage Scan
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #864Page Scan
Worship (4th ed.) #627
Worship and Rejoice #422TextScoreAudioPage Scan
Worship in Song: A Friends Hymnal #185
Worship in Song: A Friends Hymnal #325
Worship: a hymnal and service book for Roman Catholics (3rd ed.) #583
生命聖詩 - Hymns of Life, 1986 #185
찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship: the Korean-English Presbyterian hymnal and service book #94
Include 56 pre-1979 instances



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