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Placentero nos es trabajar

This song is in the public domain, but you won't find it in the English hymnal, only in the Spanish one. It is one of the best-loved hymns of the Latin-American saints.

For those who do not read Spanish, I have included a time count, and have changed the time signature from the original 4/4 to 8/8, to simplify the tab. It will still sound the same. Play it fast, "with enthusiasm" ("con entusiasmo") Here is my attempt to translate the Spanish words into English. For those who do speak Spanish, I apologize if my translation is lacking in any way. I'm not much of a poet.


It is pleasant for us to work
In the vinyard of the great God Jesus
And honorable for us to to preach
To His people, His law and His light.
By His light, by His light,
It is pleasant for us to work.
By His light, by His light,
We will die in Him without sadness.

Hear the Word of God
With eagerness, loyalty and fervor.
Forever and always remember
His purity, truth, and love.
With love, with love,
Hear the Word of God.
With love, with love,
Bear the flag of God.

Oh, brothers! Good-by, then Good-bye!
The moment to leave has come.
If we keep the faith in the great God,
We will yet see each other far Beyond.
Far Beyond, far Beyond,
O, brothers! Good-by, then Good-by!
Far Beyond, far Beyond,
We will live with God in love.


Clate W. Mask, Jr., of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, loves to tell how his grandfather, Andrés C. González, came to write this song. With apologies to Elder Mask, the story goes like this:

Andrés C. González was a schoolmaster’s son, and was one of the first called to serve a mission in Mexico City during the revolutionary era. Preaching on a street corner, he and his companion thought they could attract more attention by singing the popular Protestant hymn, “In the Sweet By and By.” Instead, they attracted the attention of the police, who jailed them for “stealing” the Protestants’ song.

Unable to sleep in the jail, Elder González wrote “Mormon” lyrics to the song. Back on the street corner after being released, the Elders sang “Placentero,” with the new words. The police were ready to haul them back to jail, but Elder Gonzalez exclaimed, "You can't take us to jail. It's not the same song."

Later, in another place, the same missionaries were arrested by the federales, and stood before a firing squad. Convinced they were about to die, Elder González took a lesson from the great Book of Mormon missionary, Abinadi. Remembering how Abinadi gained his reprieve so he could preach to the King, Elder González told the federales, “You can’t kill us yet, we have a message for your Presidente which we have not yet delivered.”

The soldiers were sceptical, but eventually took Elder González to see the President of Mexico. On learning Elder González’ identity, the Presidente told him, “Your father was my favorite teacher.” He pardoned the two missionaries, and at Elder González’ request, proclaimed that the Mormons could preach the Gospel freely throughout Mexico without harassment. This was the beginning of the hugely successful LDS missionary movement in Mexico.


It's a simple song, really. The difficulty is in trying to play it fast. The hammer-ons and pull-offs help, but there are still pleny of transitions that will need practice to get smooth and fast. Keep the beat regular; it's better to play slow than irregularly, especially on this piece. You don't need lots of expression, except for the many ligados (hammer-ons and pull-offs).

In general, most of the notes are easiest to get if you leave your left hand in the C chord position, using the little finger to do the ligados. It's not as hard as it sounds, really! If you do this, there will be a few pull-offs you will need to do with the middle finger, in the second space. Since your finger is already bent, it can be hard to accomplish. I do a "reverse pull-off" by flicking the middle finger off the string in a straightening motion. Again, not hard, just counter-intuitive.

If it's too hard for you to reach the C chord in the last measure of each verse, after performing the pull-off on the third string, you can reach the same notes on the second string, pulling off --1__0--. Musically, there's no difference, just do it whichever way is easiest for you.

After playing the three verses (if you wish to), add the finale as shown. I like to end with the high-sounding C VIII chord, but you can substitute a regular C, or even split the dirrerence with a C III (barred A at the third fret.)


Jewels said...

That is a really great history to that song. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hola reflejando de esta mensaje es muy interesantes , comentarios de esta manera alegram quien reflejan esta mensaje:)

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.

Ashley said...

Placentero nos es trabajar has become one of my favorite hymns and I will be singing it to an English-speaking audience soon. I love this story and would like to tell it to give the song more meaning to those who listen. However, I would like to verify the authenticity of the story. Where did you learn/hear the story? And, could you give me that reference? Thanks so much!

Don Fallick said...

I don't normally Comment back, but you did not leave me any way to contact you, Ashley. I heard the story directly from Elder Mask himself, and published it with his written permission. You can verify this by contacting him directly. Address inquiries to Elder Clate W. Mask, c/o The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT. I don't know what his calling is right now, but when I knew him, he was Area President of the Caribbean Area. For more detailed or personal information, please email me by clicking on my photo.

Anonymous said...

I have a tendancy to be lazy sith commenting, but i love your blog and i may well also say it right now.

Tom said...

I just posted my English translation maintaining rhyme and meter, in case that's of value to anyone.

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