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O My Father

Here it is, just in time for Father's Day! The beautiful lyrics by Eliza R. Snow are in the public domain. It's a bit late for Sister Snow to object, but I doubt she would mind. Don't let the unusual tempo throw you. The music is easy to play.

The time signature of the original, as published in the old, blue hymnal, was 9/8, a difficult tempo for pianists to read, though not really difficult to play. For those who are purists, it should be counted something like this:

ONE, two, three; FOUR, five, six; SEVEN, eight, nine. The major accent falls on the first note of the measure, with minor accents on the fourth and seventh notes.

In the new, green hymnal, it was rewritten in 3/4 time, with a triplet at the end of virtually every measure. This may make it easier for pianists, but all the triplets are confusing in guitar tab. I have divided each measure of the original 9/8 score into three measures of 3/8 tempo for clarity. It sounds just like regular, old 3/4 time, except twice as fast. All the notes are eighth notes, which makes it very easy for guitarists to play.

The downbeat begins at the word, “father.” Thereafter, every three measures of 3/8 time equals one of the original 9/8 measures. Every syllable that begins one of the original 9/8 measures is printed in bold face type. Emphasize these notes just a little stronger than the lead notes of the other measures, to restore the subtle rhythm of the original 9/8 tempo.

Use strong tremolo on the final note. It'll sound gorgeous.